Queensland on the move to tackle congestion

In a move to tackle traffic congestion, Queensland Government is planning to introduce a US-style open roads policy along with enlisting an international expert to examine urban congestion.

The legislation, to be put forward by the state’s premier Anna Bligh, entails the adoption of specialised bulldozer-type trucks to clear accidents from roads and free up traffic more quickly after incidents occur.

Addressing the fact that about a quarter of congestion on Brisbane’s roads is caused by traffic incidents, Ms Bligh said: “I believe that reducing the impact and duration of incidents is an imperative in the fight against congestion.

“This proposal will have a major impact on clearing incidents, especially at notorious hot spots like the Gateway Motorway, Pacific Motorway and the Logan Motorway.”

“The aim would be to clear all accidents within 90 minutes of the arrival of the first traffic response unit or police officer at the scene of a major traffic crash or minor incident that closes down lanes of traffic,” she said.

Ms Bligh said many US cities and states had implemented the open road policy which was focused on rapid clearance of incidents, particularly heavy vehicles.

She will visit the US this week to review a number of transport and traffic initiatives.

Meanwhile, Ms Bligh has appointed Professor George Hazel OBE from the United Kingdom to advise on her congestion-busting initiatives.

Prof Hazel recently spent a week in Brisbane to meet with representatives from the state’s Urban Congestion Taskforce, Queensland Transport, Department of Main Roads, key industry groups and south-east Queensland councils.

Prof Hazel said efficient transport management was a crucial element for any city seeking to achieve a balance between economic competitiveness, the environment and lifestyle.

“Each city had its own unique issues and circumstances to address – however, our study highlights common themes and trends that will shape the evolution of cities,” he said.

“Congestion is not necessarily a bad thing – in fact it can actually be a sign of success that a city is economically strong, vibrant and growing.”

Premier Anna Bligh said Prof Hazel would conduct an annual review of the state’s Congestion Management Strategy and report on progress to the government.

Interstate truckers to boycott Queensland

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) said the Queensland Government’s fuel subsidy scheme disregards interstate truck drivers and they could consider boycotting the state.

The State Government has recently announced changes to the 8-cents-per-litre deduction scheme to ensure the $540 million per annum subsidy goes directly to motorists with a Queensland driver’s licence. 

TWU state secretary Hughie Williams said while interstate truck drivers are already suffering from soaring fuel prices, they are excluded from the discount scheme.

“When they see this fuel discount that’s going to disregard interstate truckies, don’t be surprised if they simply say we won’t deliver freight to Queensland, and that could be a very serious problem,” Mr Williams told the ABC.

“Thousands of tonnes of goods and produce is being carted in and out of Queensland and those people spend many weeks of their time in Queensland.

“They’re going to get very, very annoyed and they’ve got every right to be very annoyed about it."

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