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Brisbane’s Western Bypass. Almost 10 years ago, former transport and main roads minister Paul Lucas announced a great new plan to investigate a western bypass for Brisbane.

It was a big deal in 2007 and 2008.

Big ideas, big plans, big budgets, big dreams.

Two routes were quickly ruled out; one near Lake Wivenhoe and another just west of Mt Coot-tha.

But a third idea – running basically north-south from Toowong up through Everton Park and up to Aspley – was considered viable in the long term, say 2026.

It became part of a network of 18 different projects unveiled in 2008.

It became project 13 in a long-term plan called the Western Brisbane Transport Network Investigation Strategy and it can still be found by looking here.

So, almost 10 years later, what is happening on this front?

Is any planning under way to get this in place by 2026?


In fact, plans to widen one key intersection in one project – the South Pine Road and Stafford Road intersection – were quietly shelved in 2012 because at $100 million it cost too much.

Since then traffic has increased by an extra 3463 vehicles a day (9.95 per cent) from the south and by an extra 787 vehicles (2.15 per cent) each day.

Why have these transport issues slipped off the planning agenda.

We will begin to put these projects back on the agenda, so you can decide if the answers to why no work is underway is appropriate.

Whatever happened to …

1: Upgrading the South Pine Road and Stafford Road intersection at Everton Park.

The RACQ points out both Brisbane City Council and the Department of Transport and Main Roads’ reports show the traffic is now slower through the intersection than ever before, under 25 kilometres an hour in both the morning and evening peak.

More than four years ago, the Department of Transport and Main Roads (August 2012) came up with a new plan to widen the intersection.

But the 2012 plan was rejected because it cost too much at $100 million.

How many vehicles now use the intersection in 2017?

Overall traffic has increased by 3463 vehicles a day from 2012 to 2015 from the south heading north.

In 2012, there were 36,931 vehicles – in both directions – just to the north of the intersection.

By 2015 that had grown to 37,385 by 2015.

In 2012, there were 34,794 vehicles in both directions – just to the south of the intersection.

By 2015 that had grown by 3463 vehicles a day, or 9.05 per cent.

Brisbane’s western bypass is still just a concept, according to the Department of Transport and Main Roads. Photo: Jason South

What does the RACQ and local business say?

The RACQ says since then growth on Airport Link and Wardell Street mean this project is needed now.

“Its time to press the go button on this project,” Michael Roth, the RACQ’s executive director public policy, said.

“This has been a problem intersection for a long time and it won’t get any better until they invest in it,” Michael Roth, RACQ’s head of public policy said.

Mind you, the RACQ has since 2008 supported very major changes through this part of western Brisbane including a tunnel.

Everton Hills Chamber of Commerce president Ron Crump agreed that the traffic was “a disaster” and now getting worse.

Mr Crump said roadworks to the north in the Moreton Bay region were forcing traffic to turn southwards towards the intersection along Old Northern Road.

Mr Roth said the RACQ agreed with the ideas put forward in the 2012 model put forward by the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

“We still think that is a good plan,” he said.

“We thought it all made sense but nothing appears to have happened since.”

Why isn’t anything happening on this north-western intersection?

“At this stage there is no funding for the upgrade,” the Department of Transport and Main Roads said.

“Funding for this upgrade will compete with other state-wide priorities and is reviewed annually.

“The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) will continue to monitor traffic conditions in the area.”

What about the western bypass idea?

It’s still just a concept.

In 2007 there was a Western Brisbane Transport Network Investigation (WBTNI), which developed a 2008 strategy called the Western Brisbane Transport Network Strategy (WBTNS).

It created an overall vision for different modes of transport, roads, rail, cycling.

The western bypass was part of that strategy.

But it seems nothing is happening now in 2017.

“The WBTNS is still important to Transport and Main Roads. Some initiatives put forward in the strategy have been implemented while other initiatives remain in concept,” the department said.

It would take seven to eight years – at least – to plan, design, budget, win funding, then call tenders for a project before starting work.

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