Thursday 7 October 2010

60 k on notorious Gillies range road

The speed limit on the Gillies Range, that connects Gordonvale to the southern Atherton Tablelands, has been reduced to 60 km, on the notorious winding steep road.

The lower speed limit on the range road, from 80km to 60km, is part of a series of measures to address problems on the accident-prone road.

Similar restrictions were introduced on the Kuranda range earlier this year, however few appear to head the new speed limit. It is hoped that the new speed limit on the Gillies will help drivers in slowing to the 40km speed limits on many of the tight bends.

In 1987, a school bus crash on the Gillies Range, killed eight high school students and injured 30 students, teachers and the bus driver, after the bus careered off the side of the Gillies Highway and plunged 20 meters down the side into rainforest. The bus rolled several times on the way down, crushing its roof, and came to rest upside-down in a gully.

Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt says he remembers the event all too well.

“While there’s been huge improvements in safety since then, it’s always in the back of my mind and it definitely still influences my driving speed on the range,” Curtis Pitt says. “The reduced speed limit is on the back of a $2.7 million allocation over the next two years announced in July this year.

Other safety initiatives include guardrails at known problem spots; raised-reflective pavement markers along centrelines and standardised line marking and signage at vehicle pullover areas.


Paul Drabble said...

The ability of our powers that be to restrict rather than fix the core issue is quite farcycle, we all know speed limit adjustments dont work, but they in power choose this as a course. why "its an empowerment our politicians use that says to us ..look we have done ..something.." when hae they made a decesion to cure something on our roads to the north. I know the cures arent simple but there are cures.

Paul Drabble
"Cairns how the locals want IT"

Northland Collateral said...

The bus crash was mechanical failure of the brakes and not deliberate speeding.

Unknown said...

I remember that bus crash well, I was at high school in Cairns when it happened. Cairns High year 12 leadership camp if I recall. I'm surprised it's not recalled more often, I reckon it was a key event in the modern history of the area, in that the communal grief experienced was the last time Cairns was a true community. Everyone knew some of the kids on that bus, and some really good kids died that day.

MissEd said...

I was just about to knock off work at the Cairns Base Hospital, when Dr. Ian Audley came racing in and asked me to call in all ED clerical staff as there'd been a school bus go over the Gillies.
(I worked on the front reception desk from 1984 until 2001)
It was the first time that I experienced real ED team work in action and it was amazing to see how smoothly it came together. It was about 9.30pm when I finally left, but it's stuck with me for all those years.
It may have been mechanical failure, but it's not something I'd like to see happen again.
I also live very close to the intersection of the Bruce Highway and Riverstone Rd and I'd hate to tell you how many ambulances and emergency vehicles I hear screaming off to the Gillies Range.
Anything that can reduce the accident rate on that road is going to be welcome by locals and anyone else who cares.

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

Is not the problem with both the Kuranda Range Road & the Gillies Hwy that they are the only roads up the hill?

Both are old roads that were adequate when horses were still used, & few cars were on the roads.

Both are beautiful & scenic, & should not be changed into 6-lane monstrosities as was proposed for the Kuranda Road a few years ago. I was happy to see that sunk.

However, is there not a need for alternate roads up to the Tablelands, which is a growing area. A friend of mine who used to live at Mareeba has proposed a road skirting Lake Morris, directly up to Mareeba, Atherton & further on. This would leave traffic that only needs to go to Kuranda, Speeway etc to go up the Kuranda Road.

And I'm sure those who live on the south could come up with an alternate route to work with the Gillies.

On both roads one gets chased by either a) blokes going to a job in utes, b)locals who know the road as well as the palm of their hand, c) Cairns young cubs who want to change their gear-sticks a lot or d) tourists who want to be racing-car drivers.

Enough, time to end. Offer us alternative roads pollies - SOMETHING for the Labor crew to do, until the next election. Warren can jump up & down as much as he wants - go for it.