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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier
    The Honourable Anna Bligh
    Minister for Transport, Trade, Employment and Industrial Relations
    The Honourable John Mickel

    ‘OPEN’ ROADS TO TACKLE CONGESTION

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Minister for Transport, Trade, Employment and Industrial Relations
    The Honourable John Mickel

    Thursday, October 09, 2008

    ‘OPEN’ ROADS TO TACKLE CONGESTION

    NEW 'Open Roads' legislation will be introduced to Parliament today as part of the Bligh government's response to tackling congestion in south-east Queensland.

    Premier Anna Bligh and Transport Minister John Mickel said the congestion busting law – contained in the wide reaching Transport and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2008 - will strengthen powers for officers to quickly clear obstructions from roads.

    "I announced this legislation at the end of August and today we are now delivering on our promise to Queensland road users," Ms Bligh said.

    “The law will give police powers to order the removal of cargo and stricken vehicles from our roads without first having to seek permission from the owner.

    “Before today if a truck rolled over on the Gateway and spilled its cargo police must first get permission from the cargo owner before they move the goods off the road.

    “That can take hours and mean traffic jams that could be avoided if the cargo could simply be moved to the side of the road. This new policy will ensure that traffic can move much sooner following an incident."

    The Premier said a recent incident on the Port of Brisbane Motorway on 30

    September 2008 demonstrated how effective the new law will be.

    “A truck rolled over loosing its load of poultry and from initial incident notification to re-opening it took over seven hours,” she said.

    “If this new legislation had been in place the time to deal with a similar incident could be slashed by half.”

    Since December last year a State Government funded heavy tow truck has been dedicated to the quick clearance of heavy vehicle breakdowns on the Gateway Motorway South.

    The Premier said the service has been a success – cutting clearance times on Gateway South from an average of 3 hours to an average of just 30 minutes.

    “That’s why we rolled out two more of these quick clearance heavy tow trucks to provide a free service on South East Queensland roads at the end of August,” she said.

    “One of the vehicles now services all the state-controlled roads in greater Brisbane during peak hours and high demand times at Gateway North.

    The other is dedicated to the Logan and Ipswich Motorways and will be based near the Ipswich Motorway interchange.”

    The Premier also announced new peak time police motorcycle and car patrols to detect and manage incidents faster which started on August 28.

    The scheme means there is at least one congestion patrol in the morning and afternoon peak times (6am to 9am and 3pm to 6pm) on Monday to Friday in the designated sectors of; Pacific Motorway (City to Springwood), Gateway (Brisbane River to Miles Platting Road), Logan Motorway (Springwood Oxenford to Ipswich Motorway), Ipswich Motorway (Moorooka to Warrego Highway), Bruce Highway (Burpengary to Aspley) and Gateway Motorway (Brisbane River to Pine River).

    “This legislation will help the operators of these heavy duty tow trucks and also help these police officers to do their jobs,” said the Premier.

    “But it will also lay the groundwork for new US style push trucks to quickly push trucks and vehicles off to the side of the road which we plan to introduce to Queensland next year.”

    In Parliament today the Premier also announced a new contractual framework to prevent gridlock in the case of an emergency on one or more of Brisbane’s main arterial roads.

    “A new contractual framework to ensure that both private and public toll roads can be opened to free traffic in the event of an emergency have been approved by cabinet,” she said.

    The Premier said the new regulations will prevent gouging or profiteering from private toll road operators could claim inflated compensation from the Government because of increased traffic numbers during such an emergency.

    “With more new privately operated toll roads - such as the Hale Street Bridge and Airport Link - in the pipeline these new regulations are essential to make sure our traffic can flow freely during an emergency on our roads network,” she said.

    Transport Minister John Mickel said the Transport and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2008 covered a range of issues.

    “This bill will help Queensland moving in a safer, less congested, and environmentally aware way,” Mr Mickel said.

    Mr Mickel said major components of the bill included:

    ·powers to ensure walking and cycling options are included in planning schemes and development applications,

    ·new powers to allow transport inspectors the powers to stop people driving over flooded roads,

    ·amendments that help provide consistency with national laws covering the movement of dangerous goods on road and rail networks,

    ·giving courts powers to ban people from public transport services and precincts, and

    ·increased powers for TransLink Transit Officers on public transport services with the first officers with new powers on the network by mid next year – six months ahead of the original plan.

    Media Contact: 32244500