Friday 14 December 2007

Fear and Loathing on the Kuranda Range

CairnsBlog contributing writer Sid Walker takes the 60 kph road home...

Last week’s Tablelands Advertiser reported that a recent Australian Road Assessment Report (AusRAP) named the Kuranda Range the “most dangerous road in Queensland”.

I read the report in question, then called one of its authors for clarification.

This was necessary, because the only references in the report itself that seemed relevant mentioned a stretch of the “Kennedy Hwy… Barron Falls to Kuranda”. As any local knows, no such highway exists.

The author insisted that this was a simple mistake. I imagine it was. Presumably AusRAP’s statistics are more accurate than their road names – although factual accuracy, of course, requires both,

He further explained that the 14 km stretch of road between Smithfield and Kuranda had 84 accidents during the study period (2001 to 2005 inclusive). That’s certainly a shocking number.

On the other hand, he acknowledged there were no fatalities on the road during that period, thank goodness.

In that respect, the Kuranda Range (or whatever they actually assessed) was actually the safest of all the FNQ roads AusRAP chose to survey.

The bottom line?

There are lies, damn lies and statistics. The truth is often more subtle than the headline.

Safety on the Range Road remains a real concern. Drive it with lots of care, especially over Christmas! Well done to Minister Pitt for taking a personal interest in improving safety on the range. How about re-opening the Cairns to Kuranda rail link in 2008 - with a frequent and affordable service?

But claims the Kuranda Range Road is the ‘most dangerous in Queensland’ should be documented with more care before they enter the record as ‘fact’.

Methinks the road lobby is at it again, scaring hell out of us to justify its billion dollar plus pet project: a new World Heritage-destroying 4-Lane Highway.


Anonymous said...

I remember when the Kuranda Range was a single laned, pot holed road
winding all the way down from Kuranda through a long dark fragrant tunnel. Travelling slow was a necessity; passing another vehicle was nerve wrecking enough, and over-taking, downright lunacy.

I have never seen stats, but there were a lot of accidents and fatalities on the road even then.

Zipping up and down the range road now with its extra lanes, smooth surface etc is absolutely wonderful.

I agree with Michael however, bring back a rail "commuter" service. I remember taking it many times from the Tablelands to Cairns when I was going to school to attend school sports carnivals in Cairns.

Anonymous said...

I travelled up the Kuranda Range Road, Cairns to Koah, for years in the 70's in the back of my Dad's ute sitting on an old bench seat he had ripped out of another car...and survived.
The road is much better now, it's the impatient maniac speed freaks on it that are worse.
As I have already left a comment on the fantasic idea of having commuter trains for locals on "Concrete up more waterways" story I wont go into it again except to say we had a rail motor service years ago..time to start it up again I say.
We don't even have to wait 5 years for it to be planned and built because it's all there just waiting for some bright spark to whack a commuter train on it. How hard can it be to work that out????

Anonymous said...

Great idea Mike, we should have Rail Motor services, not only on the Kuranda run but from Babinda North too. Must be some very nice designs available for quick shuttle servies.

Anonymous said...

As an added suggestion. The Kuranda Range section needs more SLOW VEHICLE lanes for the downward leg.

Julie said...

Can we please have the stats to compare number of deaths on the Kuranda Range before and after the 60km zone was implemented at the end of 2007. In the 8 years I've lived here I hadn't heard of a death until the 60km zone was in.