Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Blockade on Neglected Road; Protest by Residents Prompts Repairs

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Blockade on Neglected Road; Protest by Residents Prompts Repairs

Article excerpt

BILL HOFFMAN

WORK will start today to repair a 4km section of the Mary Valley Tourist Drive blockaded by angry locals yesterday morning.

The locals were demanding a permanent fix to what they say is a potholed and dangerous section of road between Conondale and Kenilworth.

Glass House MP Andrew Powell said he understood their frustrations, describing the road's condition as "unacceptable and inexcusable".

Mr Powell's Maleny office is understood to have been bombarded by calls from people demanding repairs before the Easter break.

"Upon being notified of the state of the road, I immediately contacted the Department of Main Roads who undertook a site visit the following day and ordered emergency works to be done before Easter," he said.

"Those works are occurring today and tomorrow."

"Work will continue after Easter to improve the gravel verge of the 4km stretch.

"This outcome, whilst an improvement, continues to be at best a Band-Aid solution and I have again called on Main Roads to bring forward a full upgrade -- the construction of two bitumen lanes -- at this location.

"In the meantime, I ask any resident who uses this road and notices it deteriorating to urgently contact me on 5318 8100.

"Please don't assume someone else has done it. Call me so I can get action as soon as possible."

Police were called to break up yesterday's blockade and by the time officers from Maleny arrived about 8.20am, traffic had ground to a halt, although the Kenilworth to Maleny school bus was allowed through after a 15-minute delay.

About 30 protesters, a four-wheel-drive vehicle and a tractor moved off the road when directed by police.

When asked to identify the protest organiser, all claimed responsibility.

Sonja Fleiter, who has driven a school bus over the road for 16 years, said she feared for the safety of the children for whom she was responsible. …

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