Tolls on the new Toowoomba Second Range Crossing will be free for three months when it opens in early September.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey confirmed the toll free period as toll prices for the $1.6 billion bypass were announced.
“The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing is a world-class road, so we want as many people to come and drive it when it opens on 8 September, just in time for the Carnival of Flowers,” Mr Bailey said.
“It is a significant piece of national infrastructure that will have an incredible impact on the Toowoomba and Darling Downs regions for years to come.
“The bypass not only addresses increasing transport demands from the region’s growing population, but will improve freight efficiency, driver safety and relieve pressure on Toowoomba’s roads.
“The new road means heavy vehicles will avoid up to 18 sets of traffic lights in Toowoomba, cutting operating costs for trucking companies and reducing the crash risk on the Toowoomba Range.
“Heavy vehicles without a destination in Toowoomba will also be mandated to use the bypass, so that means more trucks out of central Toowoomba so thoroughfares like James Street can be returned to the local community.”
Cars will pay $2.30 to use the new bypass, and Mr Bailey revealed the Palaszczuk Government would scrap the QLD LNP’s plan to make the new bypass Australia’s most expensive toll road for trucks.
“The QLD LNP’s disastrous 2012 business case secretly planned to make the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing Australia’s most expensive toll road,” Mr Bailey said.
“The QLD LNP have kept their plan for Australia’s highest toll a secret until our revelations this week.
“The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing was supposed support jobs in the Darling Downs and surrounding regions.
“Creating the highest toll in Australia would have undermined that job-creating goal.
“The QLD LNP wanted to charge $34.25 under a new Super Heavy Vehicle class so they could gouge truckies and the freight industry.
“LNP leader Deb Frecklington, who was Campbell Newman’s Assistant Minister when this deal was done, and Trevor Watts, have serious questions to answer on why they hid their plans for Australia’s highest toll from the people of Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.
“We have heard the feedback from industry loud and clear.
“The Palaszczuk Government won’t support the QLD LNP’s attempted highway robbery.
“We’ve scrapped their proposed heavy vehicle class and slashed their outrageous toll price.
“Heavy vehicles will pay $22.85, which is consistent with the rest of the tolled network.
“We will also build a break-down pad at Gatton to enable road trains to get closer to Brisbane before breaking down.
“We’re committed to working with industry and my department will hold briefings with road freight businesses on road access and compliance arrangements in the coming weeks.”
Queensland Trucking Association CEO Gary Mahon said he was pleased with the fair toll price announced for heavy vehicles to use this great piece of infrastructure.
“Dropping the super heavy vehicle toll will encourage the usage of high productivity vehicles on this major freight route connecting regional Queensland to the Port of Brisbane,” Mr Mahon said.
“Carrying freight using multiple trailers means less truck trips, which increases road freight efficiency and safety.
“This toll price of $22.85 for heavy vehicles will increase productivity and will energise the economy in the south west region across a number of industries including agriculture and mining.”
Mr Bailey said annual operation and maintenance costs for the new road were expected to be higher than the amount of revenue it would collect.
“The QLD LNP signed the deal to establish the Second Range Crossing as a toll road based on massively over-estimated numbers of how many trucks and cars would use it,” Mr Bailey said.
“The LNP had the chance to make sure taxpayers wouldn’t pick up the bill if their numbers were wrong.
“They didn’t do that, they’re numbers were out by more than 50 per cent and now taxpayers will pay twice, first the $1.6 billion construction bill for the new road, as well as the shortfall between lower than expected annual toll revenue and the road’s operation and maintenance costs for the next 24 years.”
Mr Bailey confirmed there were no plans for a toll on the existing Toowoomba Range.
Toll charges for the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (TSRC):
- motorcycles – $1.15
- cars – $2.30
- light commercial vehicles – $5.70
- heavy vehicles – $22.85
The toll point on the TSRC is located at Cranley, east of the Mort Street Interchange.
All heavy vehicles will be required to use the TSRC except vehicles with a local destination in Toowoomba, or travelling to, or from, the Warwick area via the New England Highway.
Vehicles with a destination in Toowoomba (ie to supply goods, services) will be exempt from the mandate.
Buses, motorhomes and motorised caravans over 4.5 tonnes will also be exempt so these vehicles can continue to stop in Toowoomba and contribute to the local economy.
TSRC tolling will be managed by Transurban Queensland, trading as Linkt (previously known as govia).
Motorists with an existing Linkt account, or an account with another Australian toll provider, can use their current payment arrangement on the TSRC.
The 41km-long TSRC is a $1.6 billion project, jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments. It connects the Warrego Highway in the east with the interstate Gore Highway in the west, passing Withcott at the foot of the Toowoomba Range and the Toowoomba CBD.