Roadwork issues hold up massive highway plan
PLANS to tweak a huge service centre development, which is set to be the biggest in Australia, on the Warrego Highway just west of Ipswich have been approved but the developer is still sorting through issues with the council.
Developer EMAAS Pty Ltd gained approval for its HwyA2 development on a 40 hectare lot at Haigslea just off the westbound lanes of the highway in 2019.
The project is expected to create hundreds of jobs during construction and operation and it is has been planned for more than 20 years.
It has been a long road to get to this stage with millions of dollars already spent before construction has started.
The developer has conducted extensive consultation with truck drivers both home and abroad with visits to facilities in Europe and the United States.
The world’s largest truck stop, Iowa 80, in America’s midwest has been used as inspiration.
The developer was given the green light to build a service centre, two cafe/food tenancies, five fast food tenancies, a car wash, a truck wash, a truck depot/park and motel with 50 rooms and restaurant almost two years ago.
It is also planned to include a barber, electric car charging bays, indoor and outdoor gym and a 40-seat cinema with enough room to park 140 B-doubles on the site.
In November 2019, the developer applied to make changes to the approved development to increase the size of the car and truck washes, and the footprint of the long-term truck parking area.
It also applied to add a medical centre, more carparking spaces, an extra cafe/food tenancy, an extra food fast tenancy, a tyre shop and an extra 20 rooms to the four-storey motel.
This was approved in February but the council told the developer it must submit a detailed design to upgrade Haigslea Cemetery Road to an industrial access street standard from the intersection of the highway to 10 metres past the secondary access point to the proposed development for approval.
“We seek amendment of the above conditional provisions in this instance on the basis that the works being conditioned are considered onerous and not reflective of the likely traffic demand or intended ultimate access arrangement to the proposed development,” the developer responded in April.
“To further support this request for conditional amendment, further traffic advice is currently being prepared by our traffic engineer (Rytenskild Traffic) and will be provided very shortly.
“In the meantime, we wish to advise that upon closer consideration of the existing condition (and the associated works implications as part of the commencement of the detailed design process), the extent of works required by current condition has been recognised as potentially excessive.
“The initial proposal submitted for the subject site had not intended for any form of access to the development via Haigslea Cemetery Road.”
The developer noted an investigation into access for eastbound traffic via Haigslea Cemetery Road found that about 90 per cent of traffic into the service centre will come from the westbound lanes of the highway.
“As indicated in the Rytenskild Traffic Report, a basic rural sealed road formation was determined as a satisfactory treatment in this instance,” they said.
“TMR had advised of the long-term expectations for Haigslea Cemetery Road to be considered for ultimate closure as part of Warrego Highway upgrade works.
“Given the likely closure of this road to any future access from the Warrego Highway, this section of road would then result in … even lower traffic volumes.”
The vacant site, which is about 15 minutes from the centre of Ipswich, is mostly cleared of vegetation and adjoins the Haigslea Cemetery in the south west corner.
The site is on the opposite side of the highway to Sprenger’s Rural Traders.
The development is planned to be built over nine stages with the first stage over 14 hectares involving the service station and shop, medical centre, a caretaker residence, fast food outlets and a food court.
“The development has been proposed such that each stage can be independently serviced including waste storage and carparking,” the application notes.
“Notwithstanding all external works on the Warrego Highway and the upgrade of Haigslea Cemetery Road are required to be undertaken as part of the first stage, and it is anticipated that all internal roadworks will be undertaken as part of the first stage.
“The development shall provide resting (via the proposed motel) and convenience (via shop, food tenancies, car wash, truck wash, truck park, amenities etc.) facilities for travellers and truck drivers using the Warrego Highway.”
Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.