Traffic cameras show long delays on the Ipswich Motorway near Archerfield. Photo: SuppliedOne of south-east Queensland’s worst road bottlenecks could be unlocked with the state government offering $200m to get the final 7km section of Ipswich Motorway widened.
Queensland and consecutive federal governments have for almost four years argued ‘who should pay how much’ to widen the section of the Ipswich Motorway between Darra and Rocklea to six lanes.
Main Roads minister Mark Bailey on Wednesday morning described the section as a “morning and afternoon car park.”
He said if agreement could be reached with the federal government, preliminary work could start within two months.
“We can get the spades and shovels going on the light work on this project within two months and get the heavy work going by early next year,” Mr Bailey said.
The project to widen the final section from four lanes to six lanes is estimated to cost $400 million, with debate over the proportions to be paid by the federal and state governments, stalling the project.
Traffic in morning and afternoon peak hours mounts up dangerously on the exit and entry ramps blocking whole lanes near the Oxley Hotel, causing worsening delays and perennial accidents.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, deputy premier Jackie Trad and Mr Bailey fronted a media conference in Brisbane on Wednesday to announce Queensland would provide $200 million for the project.
“I am very concerned that this is an accident waiting to happen if we do not move on this,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“So my government is bringing forward this project now – before the budget – because I am absolutely dedicated to providing jobs for Queenslanders.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the Queensland Government would increase its share of the project from 20 per cent to 50 per cent ($200 million) to get the work underway and provide 470 jobs.
“Now I call on Malcolm Turnbull. It is up to Malcolm Turnbull. It is up to Malcolm Turnbull to come to the party,” she said.
The federal government had withdrawn money from the project, because it was unhappy with Queensland’s previous offer.
Ms Palaszczuk said the Queensland Government wanted a partnership to get the project finished.
“Partner with us, let’s create the jobs and let’s get this final stage of the motorway finished.”
Deputy premier and infrastructure minister Jackie Trad said population growth between Brisbane and Ipswich made the road project critical.
“We know that in the western suburbs population is predicted to double in the coming years,” Trad said.
“So we need the Ipswich Motorway fixed.”
Ms Trad said Queensland’s funding response was an indication of its attitude to Queensland’s soon-to-be release State Infrastructure Plan.
She said Queensland’s increased share for the final section of the Ipswich Motorway was the first project to be announced from Queensland’s new State Infrastructure Plan.
Mr Bailey said the “car park” was a major productivity problem because 12,000 trucks used that section of the Ipswich Motorway each day.
“We need to deal with it to maximise jobs and to maximise economic efficiency and getting that car park out of the way, so the people in the south-west can get into the city in the morning,” he said.
“And most importantly access that massive Rocklea and Archerfield industrial link, the rail link at Acacia Ridge and road access at Granard Road as well.”
Fairfax Media is seeking comment from the Federal Government on the Queensland Government’s offer.
The five previous sections of the Ipswich Motorway out to Ipswich were widened to six lanes by 2012.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale welcomed the funding offer from Queensland to break the motorway deadlock.
“If the federal government accept this we will finally get a motorway connecting to a motorway, rather than a motorway connecting to a car park,” he said.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.