State Govt accused of time travelling over claims Smithfield Bypass will cut commute
As construction officially begins on the Smithfield Bypass, questions are again being raised about what benefit the new road will bring to Northern Beaches commuters.
The $152-million project is aimed at easing growing congestion on the Captain Cook Highway between the northern end of Smithfield and the current Caravonica roundabout site.
A single lane road will run from from the McGregor Road roundbout at Smithfield, bypass the Smithfield roundabout and join up to the current Caravonica roundabout, which will be replaced by an intersection with lights.
SEE THE DESIGN VIDEO HERE:
Amid concerns the money will be wasted, Tropic Now discussed the nitty gritty of the design with the State Member for Barron River Craig Crawford and the Division 9 Councillor at Cairns Regional Council, Brett Olds.
How will the bypass reduce travelling times during the morning peak?
Craig Crawford: "The time difference depends on the time of day you want to calculate it and currently to drive that section it's anywhere between three minutes and 12 minutes.
"The Department (TMR) did tests in the lead up but even from my own experience, depending on the time you hit that Smithfield roundabout, the line-up is extensive.
"You will save 10 minutes at peak hour on a Monday morning."
Brett Olds: "It never takes more than eight minutes to go from north to south in that section, I time it almost every day and during the peak.
"I don’t know how you’re going to save 10 minutes when the average time is about seven minutes 30.
“The only person that could save ten minutes on this road would be Michael J Fox in a Delorean and unless Craig Crawford has invented a flux capacitor and knows something no-one else does, then he’s delusional.
"They’re lying about the numbers, they’re going to waste $152-million of taxpayers money.
Will commuters travelling north to south have to stop at lights at the new Western Arterial Road intersection?
Craig Crawford: "Through the Smithfield Bypass, there will be no roundabouts and no lights.
"When you get to the intersection at the southern end of the bypass there’ll be slip lanes that will take you straight to Cairns.
"We’ve made sure that for the bulk traffic off the bypass onto the Captain Cook Highway there's no need to be pulled up for a left turn.
"Coming home in the afternoon will be different and they’ll have to work out traffic signalisation schedules to suit the afternoon peak.
"If you want to go the Western Arterial route, there will be lights."
Brett Olds: "For the Department of Main Roads, everything they do is based on safety.
"It's going to go to one lane, back to two lanes, merging into one and that’s why there are stop lights there.
"It doesn’t matter which direction you are going."
How well was the community consulted about the design?
Craig Crawford: "This has been talked about now for a good couple of years and I know the Department has done lots of consultation and stlll are doing consultation.
"I know there are a couple of consultation groups and one has representatives from local industry and one has representatives from local community members.
"TMR put out adverts and then selected people to be on those committees."
Brett Olds: "They say they’ve consulted with Council and other stakeholders, its not consultation.
"They told us what they were doing and when you asked questions they said they couldn't answer because the Minister wasn't there, so they didn't even give us the information.
"The committee groups have all been cherry-picked.
"All they’re doing is ticking the consultation box."