Kuranda Range Road highway to hell


The Queensland Labor Corporation last year engaged a Cairns green consulting firm to produce a $1.6 million report requiring a predetermined outcome about finding a new road access to Cairns

Queensland Labor Transport Minister Mark Bailey has been steadfastly opposing any new road to take the place of the outdated and extremely dangerous Kuranda Range Road connecting the Atherton Tablelands to Cairns.

Bailey cannot drive a car therefore makes an excellent choice of a Labor academic in charge of the state’s massive road network.

Labor Transport Minister Mark Bailey

The report’s author, Mark Aitken, CEO of ARUP consultancy firm in Cairns was tasked to deliver a report finding no new road access was needed until 2051, an incredulous outcome in face of the facts.

When the $1.6m funding, secured by the KAP Member for Hill, Shane Knuth was announced in August, the newly formed Kuranda Range Road Bypass Committee contacted Mr Aitken offering him support and mentioned the Reddicliffe Bypass which had been on the table for 30 years.

The committee offered to take Mr Aitken onsite to inspect the route which is considered by engineers and road transport operators as the best and most cost-effective, alternative bypass available.

Mr Aitken declined the offer of inspection but took a phone number for future reference.

He was never heard from again.

The committee by then realised the Minister and the consultant had no intention of investigating a new road and would produce a bogus report.

In a foreword to the report, it was stated that local authorities had been consulted about the contents, however a Mareeba Shire Council spokesperson was unaware of any contact with ARUP.

A joint Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils and Main Roads Department investigation revealed Kuranda Range Road vehicle movements were far in excess of its design capacity in 2017.

FNQROC and Main Roads Department joint report (graph) shows the Kuranda Range Road traffic numbers were over its design capacity in 2017

In other words the range road has been redundant for five years.

The ARUP report found the Kuranda Range Road was not trafficable during a total of 44 closures averaging 6.6 hours annually due to accidents.

This data is at best absurd as any driver who lives on the Tablelands would know. The actual rate of closures, many unreported, is much more, particularly in the wet season when landslides, fallen trees and innumerable vehicle accidents close the road often for 4 to 5 hours at a time.

Latest advice received from shire council sources is the Environment Department now requires a total foliage umbrella for the length of the road, which is another disaster waiting to happen and a dangerous, inhibiting factor for heavy vehicle, wide or high loads.

Excessive leaf litter on the already diesel-smeared, slippery surface will send many more light vehicles over the edge. No sunlight will ensure the road stays wet.

Another glaring anomaly in the report states 93 per cent of travel movements are within two minutes of the expected travel time. Most range travelers today allow three to five hours on top of their estimated travel time to get to Cairns Airport or for medical appointments. Some travelers go the day before staying overnight in Cairns.

“The planning study found that while there are clear challenges with each corridor, none of the existing corridors are operating at capacity.

Traffic analysis indicates 93 per cent of travel movements on the Kuranda Range are within two minutes of the expected travel time.

On average, travel duration (light vehicles) is extended by 30 to 40 seconds throughout the day due to the presence of slower moving heavy vehicles.”

It gets worse:

“Current modelling indicates that with natural growth rates traffic volumes on the Kuranda Range Road will not reach the threshold for major upgrades until 2051.

Major development on the tablelands could increase growth rates and bring forward the need for major capacity upgrades.

While currently not needed, actions can be taken to progress towards planning for an alternative alignment in the long-term…….”

The erroneously-named Bridle Track at Davies Creek was not investigated as an alternative route or was the Reddicliffe Bypass which starts east of the Davies Creek bridge on the Kennedy Highway and takes a direct line eastwards to emerge on state government owned vacant land next to the Boral Quarry on Intake Road in Redlynch Valley, Cairns.

An Intake Rd overpass has been included in the plan along with an entry and exit ramp for local traffic, thus allaying any concerns about extra vehicles along Intake Rd.

The new corridor crosses a small wet area and follows the edge of a wet sclerophyll forest to intersect with the Western Arterial Highway.

Contrary to wild claims of destroying homes in Redlynch by Mark Bailey and the Labor Member for Barron River, Craig Crawford, the Reddicliffe Bypass does not provide for one house or any private property resumption excepting a small vacant allotment on the edge of the Western Arterial Hwy.

“This proposed(Reddicliffe) highway is a project no government would ever build due to its hideous cost and destruction of a heritage listed National Park,” said the Greens-driven Mark Bailey.

Member for Kennedy Bob Katter and Reddicliffe Bypass designer and earthmover Ron Reddicliffe examine the structure of the ailing Barron River bridge, the cost of replacement estimated at more than $700M

The cost of the Reddicliffe Bypass has been estimated at well under $500m. A new bridge across the Barron River is estimated at $700m leaving intact the problems with the Kuranda Range Road. There is an existing road access through the national park which would form a part of the new road and there would be minimal disturbance, said committee members.

Bailey has been totally inept and incompetent as a transport Minister according to Cape York transport industry spokesman John Witherspoon who operates road trains across the north.

“The Labor Party wants to shut down Cape York and Gulf cattle and farming industries” he said.

“While we have a new bitumen Peninsula Development Road built mostly with federal funding,

we have a road bottleneck starting at Mt Molloy restricting truck access to Mareeba, Cairns and the port.

“Now the Barron River bridge at Kuranda is back to single lane because it is structurally unsound.

“The Reddicliffe Bypass is the most sensible solution of the lot.”

Member for Kennedy Bob Katter whose electorate takes in the Tablelands has been scathing of Bailey and the Labor Corporation for ignoring the community which is crying out for a new road to Cairns.

“There are 56,000 people living on the Tablelands and 5 percent of Australia’s fruit and vegetable production is land-locked and cannot access the Cairns Port or a proposed deep-water port at Yarrabah,” Mr Katter said.

“We are in a situation where the State Government doesn’t know if the Kuranda Bridge is or isn’t safe. And even when the bridge is open, that route closes 44 times a year for an average of seven hours per closure (according to their own report). 

“Despite this, they tell us that a new road from Cairns to the Tablelands isn’t viable, but they are spending $6b on the Cross River Rail to save Brisbane commuters five minutes, and are also spending billions on the Olympic Games in Brisbane, a sporting contest that will last two weeks!”

About Editor, cairnsnews

One of the few patriots left who understands the system and how it has been totally subverted under every citizen's nose. If we can help to turn it around we will, otherwise our children will have nothing. Our investigations show there is no 'government' of the people for the people of Australia. The removal of the Crown from Australian Parliaments, followed by the incorporation of Parliaments aided by the Australia Act 1987 has left us with corporate government with policies not laws, that apply only to members of political parties and the public service. There is no law, other than the Common Law. This fact will be borne out in the near future as numerous legal challenges in place now, come to a head soon.

Posted on February 1, 2022, in ALP, Annastacia Palaszczuk, General, local government, New State of North Queensland, northern development and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Yeah John Quaids Road is not open to general traffic and exits at Hartleys crocodile farm. The bridge is stuffed and
    the ALP to stupid to know what to do compounded by the fact the corporation is bankrupt. The feds have come on board and if there are any left after the election Tablelands might get a new road. Ed


  2. We lived in Kuranda from 1985 until around 2011 when my wife and I retired and started travelling. During our Kuranda time, every 3 or 4 years there would be ANOTHER study (that only cost a couple of million for each study) about how to improve the Range Road but all the studies would be put in the ‘we will look into that’ basket. The green groups would regularly find some insignificant endangered creature to stop any upgrades. During the 1980’s there was a push to get a decent road from Cairns to Mareeba which would open up that area to the possibility of huge development which meant the Mareeba Airport would be extended and probably become the main international airport for the FNQ region which the Cairns Council would not like. It would mean that the then Mareeba Shire Council would get a huge influx of people moving in to their area. Cairns expanded and sent their developers south towards Gordonvale and to areas north of Smithfield which made Cairns a huge tourist hub and financial district to benefit the hip pocket of Cairns Council members. From memory Quade Road was partially constructed from north of Smithfield through to a lake just north of Mareeba. The road was wide and quite straight but the protests were mostly high level local government. It would open the lake area to huge development which Cairns did not want. I have driven on part of the Quade Road and would have been quite able to do at least 160 KPH because the road was so good. Eventually it was stopped. The Kuranda Range road was build during WW11 by the US military and has only every had band aid fix it procedures. If you think that will change ‘tell ‘im he’s dreaming’. Local government authorities will stop it – and if they did try to get a road designed, it will not be completed until about 2050 if they started tomorrow. I also have to ask how long the Kuranda Baron Bridge will be open?


  3. I think he’s correct, the road will be quite adequate for donkeys and wheelbarrows. That’s the way they have the future planned


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: