#Roads & Transport
Australian Federal and Queensland Governments

The FAJWeB- Fast-track AJ Wyllie Bridge Petrie for Our Community petition.

The Northbound AJ Wyllie Bridge at Petrie, Queensland, was damaged during the floods in January 2011. At a Community meeting on the 5th of November 2011 at Wyllie Park, the local Member for Kallangur and two representatives of the department of Transport and Main Roads brought concerned Community including business owners up to date regarding the progress of the reconstruction of the new bridge.

The pamphlet handed out at the meeting says: ‘Works to reconstruct the AJ Wyllie Bridge are occurring as part of Operation Queenslander. This is the largest reconstruction effort in Queensland’s history, rebuilding communities, fixing infrastructure and restoring regional economies.’

12 months have passed since the flood, yet the process of building the new bridge is still in the planning stage after the decision was made in late March to replace the old northbound bridge. It is said by the Queensland Government ‘that every effort has been made to fast-track that process’ since the decision was made in March. The finalisation of the design, removal, disconnection and relocation of services in conflict with the new bridge and the reconstruction contract to go to tender is yet to be awarded.

Local businesses in the area have suffered up to 30% downturn in business, and local members of the Community have been inconvenienced by the bottle necks of traffic which often occur because the traffic flow has been restricted to two lanes on the southbound bridge. It is said by Government that the construction of the new bridge will not finish until the end of 2012, which is 2 years after the floods made the old bridge unusable.

We the Community call on the Australian Federal Government, who are funding 75% of the project and the Queensland Government, who are funding the other 25% to actually fast-track the project. The loss of the old bridge has been a major inconvenience for our Community.

Businesses are closing and jobs are being lost. If the mantra of Government is to support Working Families and Small Businesses, they are badly letting Our Community down in this instance.

UPDATE; I rung Warren Truss' office and spoke about my FAJWeB campaign and Community concerns and this is the email I received on Wednesday 23rd November at 6.31pm.

Dear Mr Moses,

Please find below the text of the Question with Notice to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and the Minister for Regional Development (Tony Albanese) who is involved in the flood reconstruction works.

Mr Truss: To ask the Ministers listed below (questions Nos. *-*) - In respect of the AJ Wyllie Bridge upgrade on Gympie Road in Queensland, (a) what total sum will it cost to build the bridge, (b) what total sum has the Australian Government allocated to the bridge construction, and has this contribution been paid to the Queensland State Government; if so, on what date; if not, what sum has been paid to date, (c) when will the tender process be finalised, (d) when is construction expected to be completed, and the bridge open to traffic, (e) is the Minister aware of reports that local businesses have suffered up to a 30 per cent downturn in business, and traffic is severely congested, as a result of the traffic restrictions in place on the current bridge, (f) what measures are in place to assist local businesses and the community until construction is completed, and (g) will the Minister consider fast-tracking the construction of the bridge.

* Mr Truss: To ask the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government.

* Mr Truss: To ask the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

Kind regards,

Jessica Finlay
Policy Adviser - Infrastructure & Transport
Office of Hon. Warren Truss MP

Update; No-one was seriously injured in a four car pile-up on the Pine Rivers Bridge on Wednesday morning the 30th of November 2011. Police were called to the scene at 7.30am where they found the cars had collided in the left hand and centre lanes. It caused major traffic congestion, making it a carpark kilometres back to Boundary Road at Burpengary.

IF the AJ Wyllie Bridge at Petrie had been fast-tracked and built, people would have had an alternate route to go around the crash. That is not the case, as both sides of politics sit on their collective hands, unprepared to do anything to get the bridge built.

In the News; Enough is enough! That is the message from motorists and business owners frustrated about the inaction to begin construction works to repair the flood damaged AJ Wyllie Bridge. Since January, traffic delays around the bridge, which links Petrie and Lawnton (and spans 111 metres) and is one of only a few routes traversing the North Pine River, has caused headaches for Community and local workers.

A-Mart Lawnton manager Rudi Burgers said his business had suffered a marked decline since the road access was reduced from four lanes to two, with the closure of the old northbound bridge. 'It's certainly hard work at the moment - it's been very tough,' Mr Burgers said. 'In the past 10 months my foot traffic has and retail customers coming through the door have been down about 25 percent. Businesses are struggling and some have even closed and it seems to be getting worse, as the number of patrons that are frequenting the area is dropping.'

'It's only going to hurt the local community if people shop further afield.' Mr Burgers said sometimes traffic congestions caused his staff to get to work an hour late. 'When there's chaos on the Bruce Highway the traffic will (try to) detour through Petrie and the roads (and the bridge) just can't take it,' the Eaton's Hill resident said.

Mr Burgers believes the delays in repairing the bridge is unacceptable. 'I don't know why it takes so long to get the wheels rolling. The communication lines have been poor in passing on information and we're none the wiser. We need action so we can get back to a sense of normality and maybe (the governments) could even look at helping the businesses back on track by covering some of their losses. They seem pretty good at compensating the ordinary person and residents, but what about the businesses that are facing foreclosure or staff layoffs?' Mr Burgers said.

Kallangur resident and Left Right Out - Community Action Business owner Ian Moses has started a Petition urging the State and Federal Governments to Fast-track the replacement of the northbound bridge. Mr Moses said there had been no urgency from the governments to fix the bridge and solve the problem of bottlenecks. Construction of the new bridge is likely to be finished by the end of 2012 (that's what Labor say) two years after the floods made the old bridge unusable.

'It's gone to tender but it won't be revealed until January, a year later, who's going to be awarded the tender.' Mr Moses said. 'One year after the event that's as far as we've got in the process, which is absolutely pathetic.'

Mr Moses has also presented a seven-part Question with Notice to the Federal Transport and Regional Development Minister Tony Albanese, who is involved in the reconstruction works, about the issue.

The Westerner Newspaper - Story and picture by Lee Oliver 15/12/2011.

To all the Ministers of Infrastructure and main roads in both the federal and state governments, and their opposition counterparts, bar Warren Truss, don't you get what a dilemma this is for the Community of Pine Rivers yet? Wake up to yourselves and get the AJ Wyllie Bridge at Petrie built for Our Community's sake.

Update; there are lots of signed Petitions in addition to this, but you can help by spreading the word around and ask everyone you know to add their signature. It all helps in the process.

To Anna Bligh - the Queensland Premier and Minister for Reconstruction,

We the undersigned and attached, call on the State Government, under the the powers given to you, to prioritise the disaster relief project of the AJ Wyllie Bridge at Petrie, for the Businesses and Community's sake. We ask that work be done around the clock in order for people to get their lives back in order.

Ian Peter Moses - Left Right Out - on behalf of all the signed and attached petitioners.

The Fast-track AJ Wyllie Bridge Petrie for Our Community petition to Australian Federal and Queensland Governments was written by LeftRightOut and is in the category Roads & Transport at GoPetition.