Costco to pay for critical Warrego Highway fix
COSTCO will fork out for a congestion-busting highway upgrade after taxpayers picked up the tab for $105million for additional infrastructure to ease traffic following the opening of its North Lakes store.
The US American warehouse giant has confirmed it will pay for upgrades recommended by the State Government, which will include improvements to the intersection of the Ashburn Rd and Warrego Highway off-ramp intersection.
The highway intersection upgrade promises to improve traffic efficiency and safety - with the current entrance lacking adequate merge or slip lanes.
The Queensland Planning Department said Costco must would have to ensure all road upgrades were in place prior to the store's highly-anticipated opening later this year.
"Costco was required to engage traffic engineers to assess the local and state-controlled road networks, any roadworks requirements and whether there would be any adverse impacts or not," a spokesperson said.
In addition to the highway upgrades, Ipswich City Council has ordered Costco to undertake other road works as part of the site's development along Ashburn Rd and the construction of a new cul-de-sac adjacent to the warehouse.
A state government spokesperson said if the works guidelines were complied with, if all works were carried out in accordance with instructions there would be no adverse impacts on traffic once the works were completed.
RACQ Head of Public Policy Dr Rebecca Michael said they would like to see the Department of Transport and Main Roads monitor traffic flow and the safety of the westbound entry ramp.
"Large shopping developments like this are very popular but can create traffic issues throughout the day, and on weekends when people are out and about. Road upgrades are necessary so we can safely and efficiently manage additional traffic," she said
It comes after the 2014 opening of Costco's first Queensland store led to a surge in traffic in the North Lakes area, compounding existing traffic problems around the site and creating delays of up to 30 minutes for some drivers at peak times.
The state and federal governments intervened in 2015 with the construction of a $105million, six-lane overpass.
RACQ also said the government should monitor the road network after Costco opens in order to identify any emerging congestion hot spots, and suggested that drivers could always seek alternative access to the site.
"Drivers can also use the longer River Road entry ramp as an alternative to head westbound on the Warrego Highway," Dr Michael said.