Second Range Crossing access no safety risk to Mt Kynoch
THE decision to have a cutting instead of a tunnel for the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing will not endanger residents in Mt Kynoch, the Department of Transport and Main Roads says.
Residents and developers of housing estate Raveway in Mt Kynoch have raised concerns that a cutting rather than a tunnel would have the unintended consequence of denying a second access to the New England Hwy for the residents on the western side of the highway.
They claim they were told in a meeting with representatives from the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project that while the approval for a further 44 new lots in the estate was not in question, there could be no addition to the current single access to the New England Hwy which is via the Weale St intersection.
Mrs Anna Bartlett, a house owner in the estate, said she was horrified at the prospect of more residents using the already busy intersection.
"In my experience it is difficult now, particularly in fog, and I am very concerned about future traffic with current usage more than doubling. Does someone have to have a serious accident before anything is done?" she said.
A Department of Transport and Main Roads representative said the access provided to and from Mt Kynoch was the same with both the cutting and tunnel solutions.
"Nexus' design means access across the cutting along the New England Hwy will now be via bridges.
"Consultations during the tender period and recent meetings with stakeholders have indicated offering a solution that can take all classes of vehicles, while also removing dangerous goods vehicles from the central business district of Toowoomba, will be a massive benefit for the region.
"The key objective of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing design is to improve safety and service."
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The spokesman said two lanes in each direction on the New England Hwy would be maintained throughout construction.
Director of the estate Michael Battle disputed the department's claim that the access provided would have been the same under either solution.
Mr Battle said the problem had been magnified by the number of duplex houses now being built in the estate.
"Under the current planning scheme, no council additional approvals are needed for duplexes in this zone and these are being built and sold to investors from out of town who are unaware of the new access restrictions," he said.
"These new duplexes will virtually double the population of the estate."
He said he was also concerned about the added risk to residents and their property from bushfire due to the lack of a second safe access to the estate.
"It will be virtually one big cul-de-sac with up to 160 residences."
He said the Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme policy was that all roads in bushfire prone areas should be through-roads.
"It is now up to the State Government and Toowoomba Regional Council to fix this problem created by the bypass project before someone gets hurt.
"The plans for the cutting must also include a new connecting road to Old Goombungee Rd."
Mr Battle said the remainder of the approved estate would be sold, as in his opinion, it was too risky and unsustainable without a second access to the highway.