Toowoomba plays a pivotal role in the state's transport network, acting as a hub for the Darling Downs and beyond. It is a focal point for both interstate and intrastate freight movement, as the Warrego, New England and Gore Highways converge in Toowoomba en route to and from the east. As a result, Toowoomba streets carry a heavy concentration of commercial/heavy vehicles. At least 25% of the heavy vehicle trips pass directly through the city of Toowoomba.
Increasing traffic volumes are putting pressure on the highway network that passes through Toowoomba and over the Toowoomba Range. Investigations undertaken by Main Roads and Toowoomba City Council indicate that the city's existing freight network will come under increasing pressure requiring significant improvements as traffic volumes on roads in and around the city grow significantly.
Most of the existing range crossing has a 10% grade and tight horizontal curves. This results in high levels of congestion and a very poor accident record. Coupled with the section through urban Toowoomba City the existing route falls well short of specified national highway levels of service.
Recent road investment has focused on improved safety on the range, and traffic management through Toowoomba. There is limited scope for further cost effective improvements on the existing route because widening to improve capacity and safety on the range:
* would not improve the steep grade
* would provide only short term relief
* would be very expensive.
And because the route would continue to use Toowoomba streets resulting in loss of urban amenity and continued freight inefficiency.
As a result, Main Roads has identified the need for a bypass that takes highway traffic around Toowoomba rather than through it.
Main Roads has identified a 42 km road corridor that runs to the north of Toowoomba. The corridor leaves the Warrego Highway west of the Helidon Spa, crosses the Range south of Mount Kynoch and continues west. It swings to the south-west to cross the Warrego Highway near Charlton, before continuing through to join the Gore Highway approximately 17 km south west of Toowoomba.
The new corridor rises 450 metres from the start to the top of the range with maximum grades of 6.5% (almost half as steep as the existing crossing). The road would be designed for a speed of 110 km/h as opposed to the existing range crossing which is suitable for speeds of only 60–80 km/h.
The bypass as planned includes:
* 28 km of four-lane roadway on the Warrego Highway between Helidon Spa and Charlton
* 14 km of two-lane roadway between Charlton and the Gore Highway near Westbrook Creek
* A 735 m long twin-tube tunnel at the top of the range
* 5 grade-separated interchanges
* A 200 m long viaduct bridge east of the tunnel
* 22 other bridge structures.
All land for the new road corridor has been acquired.
For more information go to
We, the undersigned, call on the Queensland Government and Australian Federal Government to fund the Toowoomba Bypass Project.
The We need the Toowoomba Bypass petition to Queensland Government was written by Dave Melloy and is in the category Roads & Transport at GoPetition.