By Peter Caton
A Queensland government decision to scrap a vital interchange for traffic on the planned Tugun bypass may torpedo an interstate agreement for the road to go ahead.
Tweed Shire Council is threatening to pull the plug on its support for the $360 million-plus project because plans for an interchange at Boyd Street, Tugun, have been ditched.
The move comes on top of growing environmental-lobby protests with the Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council earlier this month calling on the NSW Government to withhold its support for the proposed route.
Tweed councillors today are to consider sending an official ultimatum to the Queensland Department of Main Roads warning they will fight the so-called C4 route unless the Boyd Street Interchange is put back on the map.
Council staff say the Boyd Street interchange, just north of the Gold Coast Airport, is essential for traffic movement around Tweed Heads and Tugun and part of their long-term planning.
Council planning chief Noel Hodges has told councillors the interchange, which would connect Tugun with massive future housing development at Cobaki Lakes and Bilambil Heights, has been taken off the latest bypass plans.
Those plans have been put on public display as part of the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) process.
Tweed mayor Warren Polglase said the council was likely to call on the NSW government to take up its case, opposing the C4 route unless the interchange was put back on the plans.
He suspected the Queensland Government had ditched the interchange because it made the area covered by the current EIS larger.
He said it had been replaced by an overpass which would simply put traffic from Cobaki Lakes and Bilambil Heights back through Tugun.
A spokesperson for Queensland Main Roads Minister Paul Lucas said his department told Tweed Shire Council in 2003 it was removing plans for the interchange because "there was no need".
However the design would allow an interchange to be built in the future "if traffic increases".
Cr Polglase said getting two state governments and councils either side of the border to agree again on roads in the future would be a nightmare, and agreement had to be reached on an interchange in planning for the bypass.