Ark Construction Group's Ashley McLauchlan, Liberal National Senator for Queensland Paul Scarr and Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann opened 10 upgraded bridges in 2019, but there are many more council plans to upgrade.
Ark Construction Group's Ashley McLauchlan, Liberal National Senator for Queensland Paul Scarr and Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann opened 10 upgraded bridges in 2019, but there are many more council plans to upgrade.

DEVELOPMENT: 15 ‘shovel-ready’ projects requiring funding

THE Somerset Regional Council have revealed a range of “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects to make up part of a $608 million battleplan.

Spearheaded by the Local Government Association of Queensland, this battleplan initiative aims to create new jobs and stimulate economic growth, with water security and transport infrastructure being among the key initiatives.

“This battleplan is not about council or its workforce, it’s about our community,” Somerset Council’s Chief Executive Officer Andrew Johnson said.

“All the jobs this battleplan will create are local. It will mean work for tradespeople, machinery operators, apprenticeships, labourers and suppliers.”

With maintaining essential services and helping the region recover in the wake of COVID-19 being top priorities for the Somerset council, their chosen projects focus on improving safety and connectivity in the region.

Bridge Works

  • The Somerset is home to numerous timber-concrete hybrid bridges, several of which have been the subject of previous upgrades. Seventeen of these bridges remain in poor condition, and are in need of strengthening.
  • Sandy Creek Bridge at Crossdale is in poor condition, with council engineers estimating it will no longer be safe to take heavy loads within the next five years. Council are proposing this ailing timber bridge be replaced by a concrete crossing.
  • Another timber bridge in need of replacement is Braeburn Bridge at Monsildale. Council engineers have asserted a concrete crossing would be an effective replacement at this site as well.
  • Lester Kropp Bridge is another crossing council wants to replace, being a single-lane bridge that is unable to cope with the amount of traffic now using it.

Road Upgrades

  • Improving Lowood-Minden Road to serve as a connection to the SEQ Trade Enterprise Spine is a high priority project for council. The current road is narrow, with a poor crash history, and high volumes of traffic using it on a regular basis.
  • Mount Tarampa Road is another roadway council plans to improve, with plans to strengthen and widen the road to better cope with the amount of vehicles coming through each day.
  • Bitumen sealing along part of Rasmussen Road at Mount Archer is also in the pipeline, which is expected to support tourism and transport industries using the road.
  • Improvements are also under consideration for Gregor’s Creek Road, with safety upgrades intended for the route’s many dips, crests and turns.
  • Another problematic road in the region is Esk-Crows Nest Road, a gravel roadway that is among the most costly to maintain in the region. Council is hoping to seal a significant section of the road to improve the experience for users, and reduce the costs of maintenance.

Other Projects

  • Council are also seeking to establish sealed pavements along the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, from Esk to Fernvale, with the aim of attracting cyclists to the trail.
  • Also planned for the Rail Trail is additional carparking at the Fernvale trailhead, and improvement to the overnight campground at Toogoolawah.
  • At Moore, council hopes to replace the existing pedestrian bridge, improving connections to the Rail Trail.
  • Renewal of Yowie Aston Park Path is expected to improve public safety, and support local tourism to Yowie Park and its surrounds.
  • A recycled water pipeline from Lowood to Fernvale is another possible project, which when completed would supply recycled water to struggling sports facilities and the like.
  • Installing new LED lighting at outdoor recreation facilities in Kilcoy, Esk, Lowood and Fernvale is expected to have considerable benefits to recreation and tourism activities in the region.

This is not an exhaustive list of all projects proposed under the battleplan, with others including the establishment of a Green Army, attracting a new secondary school to the region, and much more.

Most projects would ready to go from July 1, provided they receive funding.

The full five-page list can be found on the Somerset council website.