The heavy vehicle industry is calling on the state government to commit to a timeline for delivery of the Access to Gladstone Port upgrades.
As grain growers gear up to deliver a bumper wheat harvest, calls for the more than $125 million upgrades have grown in recent months.
Several road infrastructure projects have taken place along the Dawson Highway since 2018 but type one road train access from Biloela through to the port remains restricted in most parts.
Initially the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) expected the business case for the upgrades to be finalised and approved in early 2021, but it is now said to be in its final stages.
Calliope transporter and outgoing Agforce Cattle Board president Will Wilson is leading calls for the Department of Main Roads to answer questions around when access will open for more road train access.
"It defies belief as an export state, we continue to fail to realise that connecting our productive regions with our port is of upmost importance," Mr Wilson said.
"We hope it's only a matter of time for this access particularly with the upcoming grain harvest.
"With our region posed as the golden triangle for renewable energy, it is important we provide the ability to mobilise components from port to site as soon as possible.
"We hope this is sooner rather than later."
Despite several road infrastructure projects along the Dawson Highway completed since 2018 to improve to improve regional freight efficiencies and safety, Mr Wilson said type one road train access from Biloela through to the port still remains restricted in most parts.
Type one road trains operate with different trailer configurations up to a maximum length of 36.5 metres and can tow two or three trailers, which can weigh upwards of around 79 tonnes and 102.5 tonnes.
Restrictions include insufficient through lane and shoulder width for a significant portion of the route and several bridges which have insufficient capacity for type one road train combinations.
"Upgrades on the corridor, including grade separation of the Dawson and Bruce Highways at Calliope and the replacement of five timber bridges on the Dawson Highway have improved the route," Mr Wilson said.
"However, no change in vehicle operating capacity has been achieved with the corridor still limited to conventional common use B-Double heavy vehicles."
Closer to the Gladstone Port, the Red Rover Road Balloon Loop bridge is also restricted to excess mass.
Federal Flynn MP Colin Boyce has also raised concerns about the project's lack of planning, funding shortfalls and delays.
Speaking in Canberra last month, Mr Boyce said he would like to see the necessary upgrades take place as soon as possible.
"The former member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd secured $100 million for access to the Gladstone Port project to provide an alternate route for heavy vehicles accessing the Port of Gladstone," Mr Boyce said.
"This has still not been done with the access to Gladstone Port project stagnate and in planning stages since 2020.
"There are four bridges in the Gladstone area that have oversize load and weight restrictions on them.
"These bridges need to be repaired and present huge logistical problems for their proposed multi-billion-dollar alternative and renewable energy projects in Central Queensland."
A spokesperson for the Department of Transport and Main Roads said the business case for the Access to Gladstone Port project was in its final stages.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said planning was ongoing for the project, and consultations with the federal government were continuing.
"The Palaszczuk government knows how important Gladstone Port is because we saved it from being privatised by Colin Boyce's LNP," Mr Bailey said.
"It's actually a bit of a stretch to believe Mr Boyce suddenly cares about renewable energy infrastructure moving through Gladstone when he has claimed often that climate change was not caused by humans.
"Unlike Mr Boyce's climate change denial and "flexible" Net Zero commitments, the Palaszczuk government is planning for a renewable powered future via our Queensland Energy Plan released [last] week."
The Port of Gladstone is the largest multi-commodity port in Australia, with more than 100 million tonnes of throughput per year.
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