The State Government’s liquid natural gas export deal has made upgrades to the Warrego Highway crucial for South East Queensland according to the Council of Mayors (SEQ).
Council of Mayors (SEQ) Chairman Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said the infrastructure project was a national priority and was now absolutely essential.
“The upgrade of the Warrego Highway and Blacksoil Interchange is grossly overdue,” Cr Newman said.
“The current state of the Warrego Highway is a disgrace.
“Half of the exports that pass through the Port of Brisbane originate from the Surat Basin and Darling Downs regions.
“With the LNG deal set to greatly increase freight activity between these regions and the Port of Brisbane, an upgrade to the route, including the Toowoomba Bypass, is simply non-negotiable.”
“The State and Federal governments must jointly fund this nationally significant work as a matter of priority.”
Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Cr Peter Taylor echoed Cr Newman’s call.
“Exports from the Surat Basin and Darling Downs regions to the Port of Brisbane have an estimated value of $7.9 billion annually, about one percent of Australia’s gross domestic product,” said Cr Taylor.
“The LNG deal and other projects in the pipeline will see these figures rise dramatically.”
“An upgrade to the Warrego Highway, including the Toowoomba Bypass and Blacksoil Interchange, is vital to improve safety and the efficiency of freight and passenger movement.
“The current state of the road is a disgrace and unsafe for motorists.
“The speed limit on the Helidon to Withcott section was recently reduced from 100 km/h to 80 km/h due to the poor quality of the road surface.”
The upgrade to the Blacksoil Interchange and Warrego Highway is one of seven key infrastructure projects for South East Queensland identified by the Council of Mayors (SEQ) in its recent submission to the Federal Government.
The Council of Mayors (SEQ) also highlighted the Toowoomba Bypass, the Eastern Busway, the Gold Coast Heavy Rail Extension, the Kingsford Smith Drive corridor, the Pacific Motorway upgrade and the Sunshine Coast Airport as ‘national priority’ infrastructure projects that require federal government investment.