Facts on Beckmans Rd demaining
NOOSA MP Sandy Bolton and Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington have provided Noosa News information to help readers understand the history and state of play in regards to issues with Tewantin's Beckmans Road.
The starting point was in 2000 when the council and State Government signed a "de-maining” agreement, meaning it cedes responsibility for maintenance of a state-controlled road to a local council. Such an act usually occurs when a state road has had its traffic volumes reduced as a result of construction of an alternative major route.
The agreement stated: "The Integrated Regional Transport Plan includes the investigation of strategic road opportunities including a Tewantin Bypass”.
"Given that these investigations establish a need for a Tewantin Bypass connecting Cooroy-Noosa Road to the Eumundi Noosa Road, then, subject to the act, Main Roads will plan, design and construct it.”
The bypass is scheduled for post-2030, however design plans are "aimed at upgrading the existing Beckmans Road rather than building a bypass”, CrWellington said.
"Council welcomes the potential upgrade as a short-term fix but remains committed to also achieving the bypass road that the state promised Noosa 18years ago.
"Council's current concern is that TMR's designs to upgrade existing intersections and roundabouts may become an excuse for the State to walk away from its requirements to build a bypass.
"From council's perspective, that could leave ratepayers to foot the bill for a future bypass.
"No one disagrees that a bypass will one day be required. The question is who will build it and when. Maybe the state should just bite the proverbial bullet and provide a long-term solution now, rather than trying to get away with a quick fix?
"Meanwhile, Beckmans Road continues to choke on peak hour traffic while the State arguably shirks their responsibility.”
A bypass would duplicate Beckmans Road, leaving the current road as a service road for local residents and school traffic. In other words, all through-traffic would be diverted onto the bypass running alongside the current Beckmans Road.
Ms Bolton said the agreement identified the need for a bypass but did not stipulate when.
"At a meeting in February to clarify with the Minister for Main Roads Mark Bailey, I was informed the volume of traffic and other triggers to warrant a bypass would not be expected until after 2030 based on current traffic projections, hence the upgrade to Beckmans to alleviate the current issues,” Ms Bolton said.
"From speaking with Mayor Wellington, I am aware of council's concerns that TMR might provide a short-term fix for Beckmans Road but not fund the promised bypass, and recent meetings between council and TMR staff have focused on this, as it could potentially leave council to design and fund the more expensive bypass in the future without a formalised agreement.”
Cr Wellington said state governments in the past had generally accepted it was a state responsibility to improve Beckmans Road.
"Various designs for works have surfaced over the years, however to date there has been no appropriate state funding attached to any construction work,” he said.
"Unfortunately the agreement didn't place a time frame on the state to deliver the works.
"Meanwhile, traffic growth since 2000 has continued to put pressure on the local road network.”
Ms Bolton said she and Mayor Wellington would be meeting next week to resolve the objectives of both council and TMR.
"We are both determined to deliver a solution, and I will keep everyone updated as information comes to hand,” she said.