Concerns remain for livestock transporters over the pricing of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, with the Department of Transport and Main Roads no closer to releasing the pricing structure of the toll road.
The TSRC, a 41-kilometre road, will bypass Toowoomba and link the Warrego Highway in the east and the Gore Highway in the west.
A DTMR spokesperson confirmed the TSRC is expected to be fully open to traffic by mid-year.
“However, no decision has been made on tolls, but they will be finalised before the road opens,” the DTMR spokesperson said.
According to one user of the Warrego Highway, George Johnston, Johnston's Livestock Transport, Oakey, the cost of using the TSRC could be substantial and was unlikely to offer big gains for heavy vehicle users.
“This is not a good time to impose another burden on agriculture, especially as it is really hurting from the continuous dry in the majority of the state," Mr Johnston said.
"This will be just another additional cost and we will find it very difficult to pass on as most of this work has been tendered for."
The DTMR said a plan is underway to design and build a de-coupling pad off the Warrego Highway for livestock transporters, to allow for road trains to de-couple before heading further east.
Mr Johnston, who carts high-value Wagyu cattle, believed this would be of little benefit.
He said the time factor, de-coupling and stress factor on livestock was an additional burden.
Queensland Trucking Association CEO Gary Mahon said his association was trying to keep the cost down.
"There's certainly some numbers being thrown around that are fairly confronting, such as $40-odd per trip, which is a very significant impost to industry," Mr Mahon said.
"We're hope to get that down and are looking at the same cost to travel from Gailes to the Port of Brisbane, which is around $16.
"As a point of reference this toll road is about 46km and is longer than the TSRC, but we are happy to say it is a comparable distance.
"The government is also contemplating mandatory use. The suggested benefit to industry is taking 45 minutes out of the trip but we believe the time saving is more like 20-25 minutes.
"The industry agrees it will reduce gear changes, tyre wear and fuel use but these will be marginal to operators for that part of the journey.”
Mr Mahon said the TSRC was a magnificent piece of infrastructure and a reasonable price would strongly encourage its use.
“Pricing disincentives will only replicate the Clem7 experience. Price it right the first time and it will get the use it deserves,” he said.
Minister for Transport Mark Bailey said that road transport remains the dominant mode of moving cattle across regional Qld and our ongoing to invest in regional roads will help to improve access for higher productivity vehicles.
"There's nothing more evident there than the TSRC, one of the most ambitious and important infrastructure projects of recent years, commenced in 2016 under the current government." Mr Bailey said.
"A $1.6b project, it's the largest project in the state.
"I'm sure with the completion of the project there will be an expectation from many of you that greater access will be available for road trains and other high productivity vehicles."
He said road train access is being actively considered through to as far as the Gatton interchange with a proposed decoupling facility in the planning phase.
"As funding and priorities permit, further access will be planned and delivered into the future," he said.