LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has thrown his support behind a business group campaign aimed at forcing the State Government to build a second access roadway in the growing southern corridor of Cairns.
The Edmonton Traders Association and the Mulgrave and District Chamber of Commerce has launched a petition demanding the State Government investigate, fund and construct a second southern access road to ease congestion on the Bruce Highway.
Mr Entsch said he fully supported the groups’ efforts to advocate the needs of a rapidly growing area.
“We desperately need an alternative to the Bruce Highway,” he said.
“The southern corridor has grown to the point where a second roadway is needed to improve traffic flow and safety for motorists and to ensure an alternative access to and from Cairns in the event of accidents or severe flooding.
“The highway is not only the only access to Cairns for southern residents and businesses but it’s also the final stretch of the city’s main supply route.
“An alternative transport option would boost all Cairns businesses that rely on goods delivered via road.”
Mr Entsch said the State Government’s Bruce Highway Upgrade project would pose problems for many residents and businesses in the southern corridor and highlighted the need for alternative transport solutions.
“A second access, properly investigated and planned, would minimise the risk of compulsory acquisition of family homes,” Mr Entsch said.
“There would be minimal impact on businesses.
“You’ve got world-class businesses on the Bruce Highway such as the Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort that need to be protected when transport corridors are considered.
“I’ve secured the majority of funding for upgrades on the Bruce Highway over the past 15 years but the State Government is always playing catch-up and projects are delivered well after the funding has been secured.
“We need long-term solutions. We can’t wait until we reach crisis point to deliver critical transport solutions.”
He said the rail line between Gordonvale and Cairns offered public transport opportunities.
“It’s under-utilised to the blazes,” Mr Entsch said.
“It’s ideal for light rail or a bus lane the infrastructure is already there.”
The petition can be downloaded from Mr Entsch’s website. A hard copy is available at his electorate office.