Slow road to upgrade at Cracow
BURNETT Joyce shook his head in disbelief.
The Cracow grazier was disappointed that the Banana Shire section of the Eidsvold-Theodore road had again missed out on funding for a sorely needed upgrade.
Speaking at the AgForce state conference last week, Premier Anna Bligh said $16.9 million would be spent over four years, to allow B-doubles, under permit, to progressively use the 77.4-kilometre section of the road between Eidsvold and the Defence Road.
The upgrades include bridges, culverts and widening of road shoulders but there is nothing for the unsealed gravel and rock-laden section that allows access to Cracow and Theodore.
Mr Joyce, who owns the property, 'Gyranda', not far from the Defence Road, questioned the effectiveness of the funding.
“I would have thought that more progress would be made by sealing the rest of the road,” Mr Joyce said.
“Why wait up to four years for that amount of money?
“It just seems to make absolutely no sense as shown by the amount of money.”
Mr Joyce, who runs 3000 head of cattle on 'Gyranda' and 1000 at the leased 'Woolshed', described the funding snub as frustrating.
He said using single, double-deck trucks to shift cattle added 25% to his freight costs.
Mr Joyce, who shifts about 3000 head each year in and out of the properties, said the Defence Road was also in poor condition, so making the main road B-double standard would not help that road.
“We fought long and hard to get this road sealed but it means nothing,” he said.
Sarah Cox, from Cracow Station, said the planned upgrades won't be a great deal of help to them.
“Still, it will help make the Eidsvold to Defence Road section safer, which is great,” Mrs Cox said.
“It's shocking that Banana Shire Council has done nothing other than some grading to their section of the road between Cracow and Eidsvold.”
A Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesperson told Central Telegraph there were no plans to upgrade the road north of Defence Road to B-double standard but the department would work with the North Burnett Regional Council, primary producers and transport operators to upgrade the Eidsvold end.