Critics blast Gap closure
THE landslide zone at Cunningham's Gap has business owners venting their frustrations over the extended closures during one of their busiest times of the year.
While The Gap was re-opened last night after landslides at the weekend, the planned closure to undergo safety works is still going ahead from December 13-20.
Fraser's Livestock Transport director Ross Fraser said diverting trucks through Toowoomba was having a financial impact on the business and made scheduling substantially more difficult.
He also said the route changes added about three hours to a round trip between Brisbane and Warwick, requiring more drivers and closer monitoring of fatigue issues.
“We don't have an option because we don't like travelling through Heifer Creek,” Mr Fraser said.
Mr Fraser said the decision to simply close The Gap had a big economic effect on a lot of people and described it as an “easy fix” which required immediate attention.
“This has been going on for far too long; they just need to throw some money at it and get it fixed,” he said.
“We don't want to be travelling through The Gap if it's not safe, but by God, fix the thing.”
Shane Barr, who runs a business sub-contracting for South Queensland Parcel Service, said the closure is making it unviable for him to deliver his goods and was becoming increasingly frustrating.
The fact his delivery spots are located at many areas near and around The Gap meant Mr Barr risks losing clients to other couriers during this hectic time.
“I have Boonah freight that has been in my van since Monday,” Mr Barr said.
“My freight is same-day freight so if I'm delivering it at five o'clock, there's no point.”
Mr Barr said he was dismayed as to why work was not being carried out this week while the closure was already in effect and why recent work had not progressed.
“I don't know why they stopped working on it months ago when they had it closed to get rid of those boulders,” Mr Barr said.
“They were supposed to do it all then and now all of a sudden at Christmas time they want to close it.”
During next week's scheduled closure Mr Barr said his business would be further impacted when he would need to leave Warwick by 5am to get over The Gap before it was shut at 6am, then spending two hours waiting for stores to open.
Main Roads Logan district director Paul Noonan spent five hours inspecting works to clean up seven landslides at the troublesome mountain crossing yesterday, with further two-hour closures scheduled today between 9am to 11am and 1pm to 3pm.
Mr Noonan said during the first seven days of December the area had experienced about 300mm of rain which forced the closure of the mountain crossing at the weekend.
“The closures are regrettable for the community and the travelling public, but we're working flat out,” Mr Noonan said.
“The first slide was reported during Saturday, with a couple of substantial ones at various points along the highway from the helipad up (the highway).”
Mr Noonan said the two lots of two-hour closures of the highway was to enable two shipping containers filled with gravel to be lifted into place and act as protection buffers at the Gap Creek Bridge.
Mr Noonan said scheduled closures of The Gap at 6am to 6pm from December 13-20 would continue as planned.