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Turning lane a life saver

ROAD SAFE: John Casey stands at the corner of Alf Casey Rd and the Bruce Hwy at the O'Connell River, Lethebrook.
ROAD SAFE: John Casey stands at the corner of Alf Casey Rd and the Bruce Hwy at the O'Connell River, Lethebrook. Peter Carruthers

DURING the crush season there are more than 90 tractor and trailer movements a day through the Bruce Hwy and Alf Casey Rd intersection just south of the O'Connell River.

Every afternoon two school buses with 60 children on board depart Prosperine and turn right into Alf Casey Rd.

John Casey lives right at the intersection and said three weeks ago there was a near miss when a truck "was sideways down the road trying to avoid” a bus laden with children.

The intersection marks the last stop of the Proserpine school run where children meet parents and continue their journey to Midge Point and Bloomsbury by car.

There is no turning lane for vehicles turning right off the highway and nowhere on the left for trucks to go if a bus has to stop in the middle of the road for north-travelling traffic.

Mr Casey said there was a school bus catastrophe waiting to happen.

"In 2012 they widened the road and upgraded the caravan park turn-off. They were going to put a turning lane in but it didn't happen,” he said.

"All it needs is some gravel put there and it's done.

"Last year I was actually hauling the cane and two semi-trailers pulled up and come around me on the left. You have got to squeeze right over that line to make sure they know that you are turning which is dangerous and illegal.”

When drivers indicate to turn right it's assumed they are turning into the caravan park.

Indicating the intention to turn late means drivers behind have no time to take evasive action.

School bus driver Jeffrey Lade is the principal signatory to a petition which was lodged with the Queensland Parliament this week.

Member for Whitsunday, Jason Costigan, is the sponsoring member of the petition and thanked all those who signed the petition.

"Bloomsbury bus driver Jeffrey Lade has done a wonderful job in getting people fired up about this issue and the end result is a petition signed by hundreds of locals,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Main Roads and Transport said it was aware of community "concerns”.

"We appreciate the concerns raised about the intersection and are committed to ensuring the Bruce Hwy is safe and capable of handling growing traffic demands,” she said. "The intersection has also been identified for a potential upgrade to provide a turning lane for southbound traffic in the future. This will be progressed as funding becomes available.”

Topics:  alf casey road bruce highway jason costigan proserpine whitsundays

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