BYPASS: When will details be revealed, tenders advertised?
DRIVERS wanting to enter or leave Gympie via the Bruce Highway will have to use one of four interchanges once Section D of the Gympie Bypass is completed.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads reconfirmed yesterday the interchanges would be at Woondum (already built as part of Section C), Penny Rd, Gympie Connection Rd and Harvey Siding Rd at Curra, but said more detailed design information could not be released to the public until final approval from all levels of government.
The statement came in response to speculation about the movement of traffic off and on the Bruce Highway once the Bypass is completed, and concern from a local tourism operator that there will be no direct access to the Wide Bay Highway.
"The Bruce Highway Cooroy to Curra upgrade was designed to improve road safety, flood immunity and efficiency along the 62km stretch," a DTMR statement read.
"One of the key issues affecting the safety and efficiency is the number of access points.
"The existing highway between Woondum and Gympie has more than 150 property accesses and intersections. The risk of crashes increases at each of these locations.
"Frequent accesses and intersections also contribute to congestion at peak periods for highway traffic and local road users.
"When Section D: Woondum to Curra is built, these intersections and property accesses will be bypassed with 26km of fast-flowing, four-lane highway."
Safe access will be available to and from the new high-speed highway at one of four interchanges:
Woondum Interchange - this interchange was built as part of Section C: Traveston to Woondum.
Penny Road Interchange - this interchange will provide access to the industrial estate as well as travellers wishing to exit the highway (southbound) or enter the highway (northbound), to the south of Gympie city.
Gympie Interchange - located at Gympie Connection Road, this interchange will provide convenient access to and from Gympie city.
Curra Interchange - located near where Harvey Siding Road currently joins the Bruce Highway at Curra, this interchange will provide access to and from the highway for motorists north of Gympie city.
The interchange locations were selected after community consultation, the DTMR said.
"We held three public displays, published two detailed reports, distributed four newsletters and many fact sheets and consulted regularly with community focus groups.
"Once Section D is complete, all motorists will need to use one of the new interchanges to access the new highway.
"However, traffic volumes on the existing Bruce Highway will be significantly lower, meaning there will be less congestion for motorists using the Old Bruce Highway.
"The final design for Section D is currently progressing for approval by all levels of government.
"Although we are eager to show the community what the final design looks like, we need to complete consultation with impacted property owners and all levels of government first.
"Once we have the necessary approvals, we will hold public displays for the community to see the design and ask questions. At that time, we will also be able to advertise tenders and identify construction start and end times."