'Something needs to be done, before someone is killed'
ONE Clarke Creek family has been forced to skip school, and others are driving an extra 100km to buy groceries, because of a "dangerous" wheel-rutted road that is frequently blocked if it rains upstream.
The community has spent more than nine years campaigning for improvements to the May Downs Road and now they have gutful and want to State Government to know "enough is enough".
The 70km stretch of sealed and gravel road connects western farm and mine communities to the coast and joins the Marlborough-Sarina Road.
Clarke Creek Community Reference Group member Lynise Conaghan said she thought the region's contribution to state royalties should mean the least they got was a safe and reliable road.
"We feel it is time for equitable and fair distribution, and funding for infrastructure," she said.
The community reference group is collaborating with the Isaac Regional Council, Mirani MP Stephen Andrew, Burdekin MP Dale Last and Capricornia MP Michelle Landry to lobby the state and federal governments for funding to upgrade the road.
Clarke Creek resident Chelsea Weatherall is forced to regularly travel the road to take her son Rhett to primary school.
"I do 80km a day on that road, five days a week (on) school days, 12 months a year," she said.
"It is just getting more and more dangerous. The bridge goes over and flooding occurs ... the bridge is very low ... we can get (no rain) here, but if it rains upstream she is over.
"Something definitely needs to be done, before someone is killed.
"Rhett misses a lot of school early in the wet season. I think he would have missed about a month's school this year due (water over the bridge)."
Ms Weatherall said the weeks Rhett had missed in the classroom had impacted him "hugely".
Not only was there a child missing school, Mrs Conaghan said the road was dangerous too.
In recent months, a number of near misses were reported on the road, numerous tyres have blown, a B-double rolled, cars have submerged in flood water and cattle have been hit.
"The number one issue impacting the liveability for the residents in the community is the May Downs Road and bridge," Mrs Conaghan said referring to a study undertaken for the community reference group.
"There are huge pot holes ... the road is in a poor state," she said.
The May Downs Road connects Clarke Creek directly to its nearest service town, Middlemount. But the danger and inconvenience of the potholed, wheel-rutted and often flooded road has promoted people to travel about 100 km extra to visit Mackay or Rockhampton instead, Mrs Conaghan said.
"People don't use it because of the state of the road. It is dangerous, it is slippery when it is wet, the dust impedes visibility when it is dry," she said.
"What we want is that road to be bitumen sealed and we want that bridge to be raised to reduce the number of days that it is in flood.
Isaac mayor Anne Baker said a well-maintained road was crucial both the connectivity of the region and the efficient and effective transport of freight.
"A road network which does not keep pace with the demands of business and industry creates a barrier to unlocking the full economic potential of the Isaac region," she said.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the State Government would deliver $14.5 billion in roads and transport infrastructure for regional Queensland during the next four years.
"Planning continues on the best way to upgrade May Downs Road, including identifying what are the priority sections for sealing and options to upgrade the Isaac River Bridge," he said.