A logging truck rolled over on Gladstone-Monto Road, in July 2017, the driver was not injured
A logging truck rolled over on Gladstone-Monto Road, in July 2017, the driver was not injured Joyce McClure

Return of logging trucks sparks safety fears

RESIDENTS along Gladstone-Monto Rd are gritting their teeth.

Logging trucks from Kalpowar State Forest have re-started intensive use of the winding country road, which is single-lane in some sections.

In a letter drop from HQ Plantations to residents in Kalpowar and the Upper Boyne Valley, residents were told to expect up to 54 truck movements per day.

"Single and/or mini-b truck configurations may operate 24 hours a day, five days a week," the letter said.

In March last year, logging trucks took an alternative route from Kalpowar after Tropical Cyclone Debbie struck, damaging the road to Many Peaks.

But with the road repaired, the trucks have returned.

Resident Tracey Byrne said she was worried about logging trucks using the road because they drive "way too fast for the heavy loads they carry".

"I myself have had a couple of scary encounters with the trucks," she said.

Other residents have taken to social media to voice safety concerns.

Between January 2012 and December 2017, 24 crashes were reported on Gladstone-Monto Rd.

Three were single-vehicle crashes involving heavy vehicles.

In February last year, a logging truck driver was killed on the road.

He crashed through a metal barrier and landed at the bottom of a cliff.

Member for Callide Colin Boyce said the issue could be resolved if an alternative route, Kalpowar Rd, was upgraded.

"If the (Kalpowar) road was upgraded, (it's) the shorter route (from Kalpowar State Forest to Gladstone) and better access makes it viable," he said.

A HQ Plantations spokesperson was asked if the company would consider using Kalpowar Rd if it was upgraded.

They said "the preferred and shortest route from Kalpowar" was Gladstone-Monto Rd.

Mr Boyce has invited the Shadow Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Steve Minnikin, to tour the electorate's roads, specifically Kalpowar Rd.

He said post-cyclone repairs to Gladstone-Monto Rd were a "bandaid-patch approach" rather than a real solution.

"Obviously it is an ongoing concern for everybody," Mr Boyce said.

A Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said as long as trucks were not longer than 19 metres they had the right to use public roads.

He said over the past five years, about 20 per cent of traffic along Gladstone-Monto Rd had been heavy vehicles.

HQ Plantations have advised residents the logging trucks are fitted with in-truck monitoring systems to keep track of driver behaviour.

A company spokesperson said a full risk assessment had been done on the use of the logging trucks on the newly repaired road.



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