The State Government has been asked to give a start date for construction of the upgrade of Bell’s Bridge intersection north of Gympie.

Member for Gympie, Tony Perrett, asked the Minister for Transport and Main Roads in Parliament this week a Question on Notice about the intersection of the Wide Bay and Bruce Highways at Bell’s Bridge. *

The upgrade is long overdue.

Gympie residents keep raising with me how dangerous the intersection is, and they want to know when it will be fixed.

The Federal Government committed its 80% share of $11.2 million to the $14 million project three years ago in May 2017.

That same month the Minister confirmed to the Parliament that the State Government would contribute its 20% ($2.8 million) share of the project.

A month later in June, the Minister advised me that construction would commence in late 2018.

We soon learned it was all smoke and mirrors when Budget papers revealed the funding had disappeared and been pushed out to 2021-2022.

I was then advised that design works were being re-evaluated.

By January last year (2019) the Minister advised me in correspondence that “investigations are well underway to refine an updated design option.

That’s 16 months ago, they should be done by now.

That’s why I’ve asked when they were completed, and when the job will start.

There should be no more excuses.

Residents have been very patient.

The site claims lives and is notorious for serious accidents.

It becomes a bottleneck as cars queue up trying to negotiate the intersection and then have to compete with heavy trucks and cars traveling through the Bruce Highway.

It is too risky and simply unsafe to continue leaving it the way it is.