There will be no more full closures on the Lions Rd for bridgework, detours will be road-bike friendly, there will be a change in heavy vehicle traffic and Google will be asked to reroute through-traffic.
That is the pledge from Kyogle Council.
The popular motorcycle route on the Queensland/NSW border was closed all last year for bridgework.
The road opened again in December 2017, but there is now a dirt detour while the last three of seven wooden bridges are updated to modern two-lane concrete bridges.
Council spokesman Tony Lickiss says the 2km Grady’s Creek Rd (or Low Rd) detour will only last until the end of March and then there will be no more full-road closures for bridgework.
While the detour is dirt, Tony says “the surface has been graded and is suitable for road motorbikes and 2WD cars to traverse”.
“While the Low Road is gravel, it can accommodate most traffic,” he says.
“However it does have a number of causeways so it should be avoided during periods of wet weather.”
While the road is safe for all bikes, it is understandable that some riders would prefer not to get gravel rash on their bike or dust on their chrome and in their engine where it is difficult to clean.
Heavy vehicle traffic
When the bridgework was announced in December 2016, Kyogle Council said it would help the local timber and cattle industry.
The original notice to resident in December 2016 stated:
Council received $2 million through the Australian Government’s Bridge Renewal program to replace the timber bridges, five of which have load limits between 2 and 25 tonnes imposed on them. The load limits have impacted the timber, beef and tourism industries and increased emergency response times for emergency and essential services undertaking urgent call outs, maintenance and repairs.
This caused some concern that the new route would attract more through-traffic by heavy vehicles as the alternative route along the Mt Lindesay Highway and Summerland Way to Woodenbong is 24.3km longer.
However, Tony says the limiting factor is the train viaduct with a height clearance of 3.5m.
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator stipulates height limits of 4.3m, except for livestock trucks which is 4.6m.
While heavy trucks won’t be able to pass along the entire road, they will now be have access from either end as far as the viaduct.
“As the load limits are being removed this will free up and remove heavy vehicle restrictions to our primary industry producers namely the dairy, timber and cattle industries,” Tony says.
“We envisage a change in traffic profile away from numerous medium-sized trucks to a few larger trucks supporting the current output of the area immediately serviced by the road. We don’t see a dramatic increase in through-traffic due to the aforementioned viaduct heights.”
Google Maps directions
However, Tony points out that Google Maps and other web-based navigational aids direct travellers down the Lions Rd rather than Mt Lindesay Highway.
“Google tried to send my furniture removalist down this road when I moved here from Far North Queensland. Lucky he called me and I could redirect him,” he says.
“Council has tried many times to get Google to change this.
“Any help in changing the prioritisation of travel through Google Maps would be grateful.”
We contacted Google Australia’s media department for comment and this is their reply:
Google Maps strives to accurately model and reflect the real world. If users spot something inaccurate, we encourage them to submit feedback and suggestions for updates via the ‘Report a problem’ tool. Additionally, municipalities and agencies responsible for managing roads and reducing traffic are free to take measures according to their individual needs (e.g. speed humps, changing speed limits, adding traffic lights). Google Maps will then strive to reflect that reality completely and accurately in our map model. And our automated routing optimisation algorithm will also take those parameters into account in every route created in Google Maps.
In other words … no!
The other option is to erect a sign that advises motorists to ignore their sat nav as has been done near Canungra to stop motorists taking the shortcut through Biddaddaba on their way to Beaudesert.
Tony says they’ve tried that.
“We have had physical warning barriers erected only to have them cut off with oxy-acetylene or battery driven grinders,” Tony says.
“At the end of the day, the travelling public will go where they want, trucks and motorcycles alike,” Tony says.
“Council’s priority is to provide infrastructure that services the needs of our residents and ratepayers that live and derive their livelihood along the road.”
As a tourist destination for motorcyclists and car club enthusiasts the region also derives a lot of tourist dollars from the road.
Tony says that when bridgework is completed there will there be no change to road markings or speed limits.