Rage over road as dust up goes on
STILL half bitumen and half dirt, Fischer Rd at Ripley was never cut out for handling large volumes of traffic.
Residents of the once quiet road first noticed a dramatic change in the number of vehicles when the Centenary Hwy extension was opened in 2009.
However, things have become even worse since Ripley Rd, the main link between Ipswich and Ripley, was completely closed a few weeks ago because of emergency bridge repairs at the Cunningham Hwy overpass.
As the only other sealed road leading into the Ripley township, Fischer Rd has absorbed all of the traffic that would have come or gone via the bridge.
Despite the protests of some locals, the situation looks set to continue until the bridge reopens in August.
Resident Stacey McQueen said the number of vehicles had increased from just over 200 per day to more than 400.
"The dust gets that bad during winter that you can't even sit outside and have a coffee," Mrs McQueen said.
"It comes across in big clouds if there is a south-westerly wind."
Mrs McQueen's neighbour, Raelene Stuart, said there were also safety concerns.
"Now there is also the issue of cars trying to overtake each other on the dirt section of road - there will be an accident here one day," she said.
The road is split between two council divisions, with councillors Sheila Ireland and Charlie Pisasale both aware of the problems.
Both said that there was no viable alternative, with any move to prevent vehicles from accessing the dirt section of Fischer Rd likely to push cars into Ripley's tighter residential streets.
A Transport and Main Roads spokesman said there were no plans to close Fischer Rd.
"Our recommended detour is via the Cunningham Hiwy, using the Swanbank and Yamanto exits," the spokesman said.
Cr Pisasale said it was Main Roads' responsibility to pay for a water truck to keep dust levels down on Fischer Rd over the coming months.
A small section of the road in Cr Ireland's division will be sealed after work on the bridge is completed.