February 22, 2018
The safety of the road surface on the Bunya Highway near the Moffatdale turn-off has again been called into question after the third serious truck incident on the short stretch since the New Year.
In January, a 27-year-old man and a seven-year-old boy were killed instantly when a tri-axle trailer allegedly swung out and hit the side of their 4WD.
southburnett.com.au has learned that not long after this, a semi-trailer driver lost control on the same stretch, and ended up on to the wrong side of the road.
Fortunately, the driver managed to pull it back into line and there was no oncoming traffic.
Police are believed to have dashcam footage of this event.
After these two incidents, the Department of Transport and Main Roads lowered the speed limit for the stretch from 100km/h to 60km/h.
A spokesman told the media at the time that TMR had identified “potential road safety risks during heavy rainfall”.
“While we cannot confirm if this contributed to the (fatal) crash, we have reduced the speed limit until further investigations can be completed,” TMR acting district director Brendan Clancy said.
Now – despite the reduction in the speed limit – another truck crash has occurred on the same stretch of road.
On Thursday morning, a B-Double heading towards Murgon ended up jackknifed in a ditch.
Fortunately, the driver walked away unscathed but the incident has raised concerns from people in the industry.
southburnett.com.au was contacted by an experienced driver – not involved in the crash and who asked to remain anonymous – who said the lower speed limit had reduced the impact of this latest incident.
But it would still have been very serious if there had been traffic heading in the opposite direction at the time.
The driver admitted he was not a road engineer, but he believed recent resurfacing work may have contributed to the string of crashes.
He suggested the bitumen was too smooth, and a larger size aggregate should have been used to increase traction.
The driver was worried that TMR believed that by simply lowering the speed limit, the problem had been fixed.
TMR has been approached for comment.
UPDATE February 23:
“Any death on our roads is a tragedy and we offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of those involved in the tragic crash earlier this year,” a Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said.
“We are continuing investigations into the crash that occurred in January. Today’s incident will also be considered as part of those findings.
“Motorists are reminded when travelling in wet weather to plan your trip, drive to the conditions, expect delays and pay attention at all times to the changing conditions of the road.”