Horror crash history shows upgrades are needed
ONE dead, three seriously injured; all in five years and all at one intersection.
This is the horrific history of the spot where the D'Aguilar Hwy meets Rogers Dr in Kingaroy.
The notorious intersection, now in the midst of a major upgrade, was the site of a fatal crash that claimed the life of a man in his 70s in April 2013.
Just months later, in October 2013, a 19-year-old man was airlifted to Brisbane after a serious crash at the same spot.
More recently, in May 2017, two people were taken to hospital after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection.
Now, the spot is set to become a whole lot safer.
South Burnett Regional Councillor Gavin Jones, who oversees the roads portfolio, said major upgrades at the intersection would be finished by October this year.
A roundabout is almost finished on the state government owned highway, creating not only a safe entrance, but an enticing welcome to the town, Cr Jones said.
The stone structure atop the roundabout will be capped off with trees and greenery as well as a "Welcome to Kingaroy" sign, Cr Jones said.
The decoration had created some concerns about visibility and safety for drivers.
Cr Jones said these concerns were unfounded.
"It has been through a very strict engineering process because it's a state government road," he said.
"According to everything that's required, it won't be obstructing anything. You'll have a clear view."
Cr Jones said the roundabout had been designed to enable trucks to safely turn left into the Rogers Dr industrial estate.
NOT THE ONLY BLACK SPOT
Transport and Main Roads District Director Hendrik Roux said the roundabout was being installed as part of the Queensland Government's commitment to delivering a long-term vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on Queensland roads.
"To achieve this vision, we are working to reduce fatalities, reduce serious injuries and improve the safety rating of the Queensland road network by 2020," he said.
However, as any South Burnett resident knows, it is far from the only problem spot for serious crashes.
The stretch of D'Aguilar Highway from Kingaroy to Caboolture has been the subject of calls for urgent upgrades, most recently by RACQ.
RACQ head of public policy Rebecca Michael said an analysis of crash history and data from the Australian Road Assessment Program showed long lengths of the highway received a disappointing two-star safety rating.
"The D'Aguilar Highway claimed 14 lives and put 211 other people in hospital with serious injuries between 2012 and 2016," Dr Michael said.
Just days ago, on Monday September 17, a 50-year-old woman was tragically killed in a fiery crash on this stretch of highway.
The highway was also named a medium-high to high crash risk between Caboolture and Kingaroy.
Dr Michael said the risk could be countered with low-cost, high impact safety works, such as clearing roadsides, installing safety barriers and noisy lines.
A TMR spokesperson said they had allocated $650,000 for transport planning for the D'Aguilar Highway to investigate future needs for the highway and this planning study would be completed in 2020.
"Any future upgrades will be considered against competing priorities across the state and availability of funds," the spokesperson said.
"The D'Aguilar Highway spans 165km from Caboolture to Kingaroy and crosses through three local council boundaries and as with any part of the state-controlled network, we'll continue to inspect the road and program any repairs as required."
Which black spots on our roads need upgrades?
This poll ended on 28 September 2018.
Burnett Highway near Goomeri
Haly St crossing
Bunya Highway near Murgon
New England Highway near Yarraman
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
This paper has long called for upgrades on the Haly St pedestrian crossing in Kingaroy.
Our reporter, Madeline Grace, was seriously injured when she was hit by a car on this crossing in April 2018, but she was not the first.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads recently knocked back a suggestion from Nanango MP Deb Frecklington to build a roundabout at the site and there are no current plans for further upgrades.
However, the TMR spokesperson said the department had made several safety improvements to the Haly St zebra crossing in recent years.
"We built a raised concrete island on the southern side of the road, allowing pedestrians to safely queue closer to the traffic lane before crossing," they said.
"Tactile ground surface indicators were installed to assist vision-impaired people and painted linemarkings were re-marked.
"We also improved lighting for the zebra crossing to alert motorists to pedestrians at night."
"We'll be installing vehicle activated signs, chevron alignment markers and truck tipping signs on the Burnett Highway about four kilometres north of Goomeri, this financial year," the TMR spokesperson said.
"The $94,000 project forms part of our Safer Roads Sooner program."
Another black spot, Maidenwell Bunya Mountains Rd, received $65,000 in funding, announced in July 2018, to improve safety after a number of serious crashes, under the Safer Roads Sooner program.