Cunningham Highway
Cunningham Highway Sarah Harvey

Cunningham Highway labelled Qld’s highway to hell

THE Cunningham is the Southern Down's highway to hell. With 391 smashes between 2001 and 2013, the major arterial is the region's number one danger zone.

An analysis of Queensland Government accident data showed there were 1837 vehicle crashes in the Southern Downs Regional Council area in the 13 years.

Rounding out the top five danger zones are the New England Hwy on 337 smashes; Warwick- Killarney Rd on 49; Warwick-Allora Rd on 35; and Palmerin St on 31.

Road conditions play a major part in the severity of crashes and authorities are committing millions of dollars to fix any problems.

The Queensland Government will spend $13,195,762 across the Main Roads' Darling Downs region - which covers the Southern Downs, Goondiwindi, Toowoomba and Western Downs council areas - over three years. The Southern Downs Regional Council is spending $4,088,000 on maintaining roads this year.

Mayor Peter Blundell said the region's high crash rate came from the number of key highways in the area and the proximity of the New South Wales border.

Cr Blundell said high crash zones were under investigation.

"The region covers the junction of the New England and Cunningham highways creating a very large traffic load as well as the added traffic pressure of the southern end of the council area being the gateway to Queensland from New South Wales and beyond," he said.

"The council has been very proactive in this area and lobbied strongly for changes to the Eight Mile intersection - just north of the Warwick - which is a high crash zone.

"Council met with Maranoa MP Bruce Scott and Southern Downs MP Lawrence Springborg in 2013 to impress on the State and Federal governments' representatives the importance of creating a safer intersection.

"Since then, the speed zone has been reduced from 80kmh to 60kmh and new barriers have been installed."

RACQ senior road safety advisor Joel Tucker said improving roads could mean the difference between life and death for some victims.

"Driver behaviour is up to the individual and road authorities do not have direct control of this.

"The motoring clubs are saying 'Get your roads in order'. If you build a good road today, it'll be there tomorrow and for 20 or 30 years before it needs too much work."

A representative for the state's Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey, said $350 million would be spent on safety improvements along major arterials by 2020.

"The Queensland Government remains committed to working with the Federal Government in delivering $350 million in jointly-funded safety improvements on the Bruce Hwy, between Brisbane and Cairns and $40 million on the Warrego Hwy, between Toowoomba and Miles over the next five years," the representative said.

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