Most people are aware of the dangers of travelling the Barkly Highway, especially after dark when cattle come on to the road.
However, it’s not just the cattle you’ve got to worry about on the highway, according to Queensland roads lobby group and insurer RACQ.
The RACQ has named and shamed the Barkly Highway as one of Queensland’s most dangerous roads.
The latest Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP) report, released just before Christmas by motoring bodies including RACQ, identified parts of the Barkly Highway between Cloncurry and Mount Isa as having some of the highest combined crash risk ratings of major roads across the nation.
RACQ said the Barkly Highway was one of 21 high-risk sections of national highway identified in Queensland.
RACQ spokesman Paul Turner said there were 42 injury crashes and two deaths on the Barkly Highway between Cloncurry and Mount Isa during 2010 and 2014.
“Regional roads are often looked past when it comes to funding, but the statistics show a high number of people are being injured and killed on this section of road,” Mr Turner said.
“We need the federal and state governments to step up and deliver safe infrastructure. We need to view road upgrades as an investment, and not a cost.”
About 1100 vehicles use the often winding road each day including a lot of heavy vehicles transporting copper between Ernest Henry mine in Cloncurry and the smelter in Mount Isa.
Mr Turner said the safety improvements required on the Barkly Highway between the Flinders Highway and Mount Isa included:
- Safety barriers or removal of roadside hazards
- Audio tactile line markings (rumble strips)
- Overtaking lanes or additional lanes
- Widen shoulders through cuttings.
When Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce visited Mount Isa during the election campaign he promised $5 million to upgrade intersections in Mount Isa, however there was no additional money for the highway between the city and Cloncurry.