By ERWIN CHLANDA
Work on the “duplication” of the North Stuart Highway near Bunnings has made it necessary to cut down 96 trees, according to the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics.
It says 2,000 locally-sourced plants will be planted as part of the landscaping works associated with the project.
“This landscaping is expected to be completed in June 2019,” according to a department spokesperson who gave no prediction about the time it will take for these trees to grow to the size of the ones “removed”.
We have asked the following further questions: Why is “road duplication” considered necessary? What are the traffic statistics? Are there national guidelines being used to determine the need for the duplication? What is its cost? Is it paid for by the NT Government or (being a national highway) by the Commonwealth Government? When (if ever) has there been a traffic jam on that section of the road?
We will publish the replies when they are provided.
UPDATE 1.40pm Friday
A spokesman for the department provided the following details:-
The main purpose of the upgrade is safety. In its current configuration, there is no delineation between different road users, increasing road safety risk.This section of the highway currently experiences high levels of through and turning heavy vehicle traffic. As traffic grows, this increases safety risks to light vehicle traffic, pedestrian and cyclists.
This project qualified for funding under the Commonwealth Safety and Fatigue Management program. The design has been undertaken with Australian Standards and Austroads Design Guidelines.
It is a $10m Commonwealth Government funded project.