Have your say... Letters to the editor

Dear LG Focus
Just 110km of unsealed road and $50 million is preventing heavy vehicles from shaving 800km off their journey from Melbourne to Cairns.

The Hann Highway is the easiest and cheapest option for the State Government to make good on its promise to provide an all-weather alternative to the Bruce Highway.

The Hann Highway has just 110km of unsealed roadway in the Etheridge and Flinders Shires which is currently preventing long haulage companies and other drivers from using the route.

For an investment of about $50 miliion, the route between the Lynd Junction and Hughenden could be sealed, which would shave 800km and two days off a journey from Melbourne to Cairns.

The State Government’s recent announcement of a preferred inland route, which would run from Mareeba via Charters Towers to Toowoomba, is not viable.

The suggested route is not flood proof and would require the construction of expensive high level bridges over several creeks and rivers, including the Belyando Crossing that is known to be impassable for weeks at a time almost every year.

Additionally, heavy haulage vehicles are currently not permitted to use the proposed route, and it is only 30km shorter (between Cairns and Brisbane) than the Bruce Highway.

Also it presumes heavy haulage is between Brisbane and Cairns, yet a high percentage of the Far North’s fresh produce and other goods is transported from New South Wales and beyond and vice versa.

The Hann Highway option was supported by many organisations, including the Etheridge and Hughenden Shire Councils, Advance Cairns and the Hann Highway Action Group.

There does need to be an upgrade to provide a safe alternative to the Bruce Highway, and one of the ways to do that is to move heavy vehicles on to an alternative route like the Hann Highway.

Yours Sincerely
Mayor Will Attwood
Etheridge Shire Council