Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Highway Quick-Fix Is No Joke

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Highway Quick-Fix Is No Joke

Article excerpt

Byline: Kathy Sundstrom

A QUICK-FIX solution to the Bruce Highway gridlock was handed in three years ago by the forensic crash investigator tasked with sifting through the grizzly remains of a fatal crash.

Garry Church, who investigated some of the most horrific Sunshine Coast road crashes and was 2013 Citizen of the Year, came up with the solution as he was "fed up" with being told to reopen the Bruce Hwy.

"I was getting so bloody angry that every time we had a fatality, I would be told to hurry up and open the road up," Mr Church said.

But his solution, which mirrors a suggestion by Sunshine Coast Daily Deputy Editor Damian Bathersby, was "laughed at".

It was to have a road connection linking the northbound lane of the Bruce Highway to the southbound lane every five kilometres to give people an option of another road to use.

"All you need is a piece of bitumen linking the roads every five kilometres," he said.

"The duty officer can have the keys (so it is only used in emergencies) and then you can close one lane off (for traffic to be used in the other direction."

Mr Church said even before his retirement two years ago, a crash on the Bruce Hwy between the Sunshine Coast and Caboolture would create a "complete bloody shambles".

"You would get traffic banked up for miles and miles," he said.

But his job was not to worry about the traffic and people's desires to get to their destination.

His job was to provide a grieving family answers as to what caused the death of their loved on that stretch of road.

"We had this pressure to hurry up and open the road, but I'd say 'hey, this is a crime scene'.

"If it was a murder then the highway would be closed for hours and you'd have police investigating from everywhere.

"But a crash is still a death. It deserves answers, particularly if someone else was at fault. …

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