Infrastructure critical to the future of Ipswich’s major population centres is in desperate need of significant investment, with no Federal election candidate yet committing investment to prevent gridlock from stunting economic productivity, future growth and the region’s liveability.
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said the Centenary Highway was one significant area that needed urgent planning, design and delivery of critical upgrades that were already lagging behind the population boom.
“As the Federal election draws near, council is calling on candidates to invest in the fastest-growing city in Queensland,” Mayor Harding said.
“Ipswich has the most rapid population growth of any local government area in Queensland with 6,000 new residents each year.”
Mayor Harding said that population growth was centred on hotspot areas connected by the Centenary Highway – including Greater Springfield, Ripley Valley Priority Development Area and Redbank Plains.
“That population growth is set to continue with an abundant pipeline of new land for housing along that corridor,” Mayor Harding said.
Mayor Harding said the Centenary Highway in particular, was essential to the movement of people and freight around South-East Queensland.
“Without public transport options – such as the Ipswich to Springfield Central Public Transport Corridor –hundreds of thousands of new residents and businesses will be forced to use the highways, leading to congestion and putting the brakes on the economic and social growth for the whole region,” Mayor Harding said.
Deputy Mayor Division 1 Councillor Jacob Madsen said Ripley Valley was deemed a Priority Development Area (PDA) by the State Government, but coordinated action from all levels of government was required to address a $92 million catalytic funding shortfall.
“We are preparing for another 120,000 new residents moving into the Ripley corridor over the next 20 years – as well as other new housing developments in surrounding areas – and significant upgrades are required to the Centenary Highway and associated road network to cater for this growth,” Cr Madsen said.
Division 1 Councillor Sheila Ireland said the Ripley Valley PDA was one of the largest growth areas in Australia, covering 4,860 hectares and set to have a total of 135,000 people in 50,000 dwellings.
“We are only at the beginning of the boom in Ripley Valley. If the State and Federal governments are serious about liveability in South-East Queensland they will invest in the infrastructure this nationally-significant area needs before it is too late,” Cr Ireland said.
Division 2 Councillor Paul Tully said the current state of the Centenary Highway with the 60km/hr roundabouts and single-lane 100km/hr sections was already struggling with the growing volume of traffic.
“It is critical that these upgrades are planned and funded by the State and Federal governments to confirm interchange locations and configurations and unlock the ongoing development of the Springfield region, Ripley and beyond,” Cr Tully said.
Division 2 Councillor Nicole Jonic said council was calling for immediate action on the planning of corridor duplication and the Centenary Highway/Augusta Parkway interchange.
“Ipswich is a high-growth city that requires investment in strategic roads to ensure people and freight continue to move safely and efficiently,” Cr Jonic said.
Article source: www.ipswichfirst.com.au