ROAD UPGRADE: Leah Mulholland has been travelling the Burnett Hwy for 14 years and says it's time for a total upgrade to make the road safer.
ROAD UPGRADE: Leah Mulholland has been travelling the Burnett Hwy for 14 years and says it's time for a total upgrade to make the road safer. Zhanae Conway-Dodd

Locals call for hwy to be fixed 'before someone dies'

COMING home from the hospital after day surgery is never an easy task.

Add into the mix a highway with more bumps in it then a pubescent teenager's face and it's a recipe for pain and a dangerous ride home.

This was Leah Mulholland's reality travelling back to Biloela from Rockhampton on the Burnett Highway this year and the Biloela local of 14 years is not alone in her concerns for the "dangerous condition” of the road.

A recent post to social media by the Central Telegraph asked Banana Shire residents to share their thoughts about navigating the stretch of the Burnett Hwy between Jambin and Dululu.

The post attracted 73 comments from angered locals sharing their road safety concerns (see story below for a selection of comments).

From feeling the need to "ratchet strap themselves to the seat so they aren't thrown from the Landcruiser” to calls for it to be fixed "before someone dies”, it was clear people were worried about the condition of the road.

$4.4m roadworks planned for major CQ highway

Leah is no stranger to the Burnett Highway, using the road for over a decade to make her way to Rockhampton once a month, if not once a fortnight, for doctors' appointments and shopping.

"The road has always been bad but the thing is when it gets bad, the road gets patched up and then it gets worse and it keeps getting patched up but when rain comes through or it floods it softens the grounds and makes the roads warped again,” she said.

"Instead of patch repairs it should be dug up and properly laid again so that way the problem would be solved.”

Leah said there were a lot worse smaller roads around the region but the Burnett Highway was a major connecting road and needed the attention it deserved.

"This is the main road from Bilo so attention should be paid to it because it is used for transport, ambulances and it's driven daily by hundreds of people,” she said.

Leah said using the highway when she made the trip back to Biloela after a recent surgical procedure was horrendous.

"Basically I was one day post surgery and had to drive home from Rocky,” she said.

"Coming back my mother had to drive about 80km/h, dodging pot holes and uneven road because of my incision in my belly.

"I actually had to hold it and brace my stomach all the way home, even with a compression garment on because it was painful due to the road.”

THE BURNETT STATISTICS

  • Crashes along the Burnett Highway between East St, Dululu and Saras Lane, Biloela, from January 1, 2016 to September 2, 2018:

2016: one fatal crash and one resulting in hospitalisation

2017: four crashes resulting in hospitalisation

2018: accident free so far

  • Casualties as a result of crashes along the Burnett Highway between East St, Dululu and Saras Lane, Biloela, January 1, 2016 to September 2, 2018:

2016: one fatality, one hospitalisation and one person medically treated

2017: five people hospitalised

2018: accident free so far

Leah said it was concerning to think how many new mothers, fresh from delivery used that road along with others who travelled to receive medical treatment in Rockhampton.

"On November 6, 2010, I was at my version of full term pregnancy so they sent me to Rockhampton via ambulance on my back and it was excruciating being in labour all the way there with nearly two hours worth of bumps, it was crazy,” she said.

"My dad offered for me to go in his 4WD and I said no because of how bouncy they are on that road.”

Leah said over her time she had seen vehicles have trouble navigating the rough highway.

"I have seen caravans cruising along at 90km/h and the caravan is dog tailing everywhere,” she said.

"Trucks with trailers are bad, especially with an empty load as it is 10 times worse then on a normal highway.

"I have seen a few cars on the side of the road taped off with the police tape.”

Leah said even when you are driving a normal car, the ruts on the road were enough to pull you close to the side and nearly off the edge of the highway.

"Overtaking is dangerous on that road too because you don't know what the road is like on the other side so you are likely to hit a bump on the opposite side of the road which can cause you to lose a bit of control of the steering because of the unevenness of it,” she said.

"We would love to see it fixed properly, not just patched up and no band-aids.”


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