JAMMED UP: A recent Kawana Way traffic jam at about 8.30am.
JAMMED UP: A recent Kawana Way traffic jam at about 8.30am. Huw Williams

New hospital will be 'crippled' by roads: MP

HE COULD throw a stone and hit the Sunshine Coast's new hospital from his office, but Fisher MP Andrew Wallace will be doing all he can to avoid driving near the new facility come April.

He says Kawana Way would "cripple" access to the hospital and would affect access to the University of the Sunshine Coast, lamenting the failure of State Governments to deliver the $430 million Mooloolah River Interchange in time for the hospital's April opening.

"We are going to hate driving around this area because it's just going to be a huge bottleneck," Mr Wallace said.

He said it was already "bumper to bumper" and with an extra 6000 people using the roads it would prove a nightmare to navigate quickly.

He praised both sides of state politics for delivering the $1.8 billion hospital, which he said would be great for local businesses and future patients.

But the insufficient road network would remain an issue, the recent widening of roads around Kawana Way roundabouts not enough to solve the problem, he argued.

The former Newman government said it would fund the project under its failed Strong Choices election platform.

Current Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey has said previously the project had never been fully planned for or costed by the LNP during its three years in power.

He said the Palaszczuk government had inherited problems with the project and were working to deliver a range of traffic solutions around the new hospital, which include a recent $22 million upgrade of Kawana Way roundabouts to widen lanes and improve traffic flow.

Priority traffic signals for emergency vehicles have also been installed around the health precinct to enable faster ambulance access from Nicklin Way.

According to the Building Queensland website, the Mooloolah River Interchange building case has been through preliminary evaluation, but was yet to be completed, awaiting State Government consideration.

Of concern for Buderim MP Steve Dickson was the 18 month to two-year process for pre-filling of the site that has to happen before the Interchange could be built.

That time is needed to allow soil to compact before bitumen is laid over the fill.

Meanwhile Mr Wallace also touched on the issue of rail duplication on the Sunshine Coast, criticising the State Government for failing to make some "hard economic decisions".

He said it was reaching a stage where the Federal Government may have to step in and take action to deliver the Beerburrum-Nambour rail upgrade.

"If the State Government is unable or unwilling to provide that infrastructure than the Federal Government has to start having some discussions about how it can get involved, ala, the train duplication," Mr Wallace said.

"It's not our responsibility, but if we are able to have a part to play in that rail duplication then that will take pressure off the Bruce Hwy. That will lead to less accidents, that will lead to better economic drivers, because people aren't stuck in a car for three hours going down to Brisbane there and three hours going home.

"It's a real problem (rail duplication) because it's almost rewarding poor behaviour (if the Federal Government stepped in).

"If you take it down to a parent and child sort of situation where the child cracks the wobblies and you give the kid a Mars Bar to shut him up."

In September Mr Bailey told a group of Coast residents a business case was being prepared for the Beerburrum-Nambour project to justify rail duplication, in order to guide future funding.

Building Queensland's website has flagged the cost of delivery of the project to be between $600 million to $700 million, with an estimate to be provided once the business case is complete, with a number of options still being considered.

Mr Bailey provided the following response just before 7pm:

The former LNP Government announced funding for the Mooloolah River interchange (MRI) in August 2014 without a detailed business case. However, the funding for this project was contingent on the sale of public assets which the people of Queensland voted against.

Planning for project alignment and corridor preservation has been finalised, however the Department of Transport and Main Roads has not yet progressed to detailed design work for the project.

Any further project phases will be subject to competing priorities and available state funds including independent assessment through Building Queensland.

Timing for construction will be subject to competing priorities and available state funds. Funding is not yet allocated for construction of the Mooloolah River Interchange project, as was the case under the previous government.

In the meantime, the Palaszczuk Government has allocated $22 million to improve access to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

Roundabouts at the intersections of Kawana Way and Jamaica Way, Kawana Island Boulevard, Premier Circuit and Metier Linkway are being upgraded to include two through-lanes on the roundabouts along Kawana Way.

Work is complete at Jamaica Way, while Kawana Island Boulevard will be completed early in the new year and all will be finished ahead of the hospital opening.

Installing additional lanes at Kawana Way Link Road and Kawana Way near Woodlands Boulevard is another priority project under construction, which we expect to be completed mid-next year.

Traffic modelling indicates that these upgrades will significantly improve capacity and reliability for traffic accessing the hospital precinct.

Investigations are also continuing into further capacity improvements that may be funded under the $22 million allocation.

As well as road improvements, bus route 611 is being introduced to provide a direct connection between Maroochydore's centre and the hospital.

We are also progressing other sustainable transport initiatives to help reduce pressure on the road network.

The CoastConnect project will increase options for sustainable travel on the Sunshine Coast through a bus priority corridor between Caloundra and Maroochydore. 



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