Bypass handed back to NSW
QUEENSLAND taxpayers have handed over responsibility for the Tugun Bypass to their NSW counterparts after 10 years of paying for the road's maintenance, despite it falling mainly across the border.
The $543 million Tugun Bypass was officially opened to traffic on June 3, 2008, with a tunnel to the west of the Gold Coast Airport providing the final link in the Pacific Highway between Queensland and NSW.
The 7.3km bypass brought to an end years of traffic chaos in the Tugun and Bilinga areas, with cars forced on to the Gold Coast Hwy at Stewart Rd, before reconnecting with the Pacific Mwy south of the Gold Coast Airport.
A deal reached between the two states at the time saw Queensland agree to fork out the $7 million annual maintenance bill for the first 10 years of the road's life, including the tunnel, despite the fact 60 per cent of the road falls in NSW.
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the official handover would take place at 12.01am on June 3, following an agreement with the NSW Department of Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).
"Motorists will not notice any difference to their journeys,” Mr Bailey said.
"Motorists will, however, notice significant upgrades now under way along the M1 under Labor - at the Gateway merge and between Varsity Lakes and Mudgeeraba.”
Currumbin MP Jann Stuckey, who was first elected 14 years ago on the back of the issue, said Queensland should never have agreed to pay for the maintenance.
"People waited over 20 years for this road, with 60 per cent of it is in NSW,” Ms Stuckey said.
"It went from $55 million to $543 million, which is nearly $100 million per kilometres with no financial input from NSW.
"It was built in 2008 and has cost on average around $7 million in maintenance.
"Queensland has put $70 million into this tunnel for 10 years when we could have used it to widen the M1 to the border.
"That stretch is so congested. It seems to be a very contentious issue. It will probably go down in history as one of the biggest cost blow-outs for a road.”
Tweed MP Geoff Provest said the road - which is used by 60,000 vehicles a day - would be effectively managed by both states in a cooperative manner, with an agreed "One Network” approach, with each state managing their own part of the road.
"Approaching operational management of the bypass as 'One Network' demonstrates good collaboration, shared responsibility and mutual understanding of the importance of the asset and its value to motorists,” Mr Provest said.
"I would like to thank Queensland Transport and Main Roads for 10 years of seamless operation of the Tugun Bypass.
"Needless to say, RMS will keep up the high standard of maintenance and operations of the bypass.”