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Premier's $700m Bribie pledge prompts calls for action on Coast bridge

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A Sunshine Coast MP has called for the state government to commit to replacing a busy local bridge, after it pledged $700 million for a bridge duplication project at Bribie Island.

Ninderry MP Dan Purdie, of the LNP, says the Bli Bli bridge is “no longer fit for purpose” and wants the government to commit to its replacement.

But local Labor MP Rob Skelton has fired back, saying “Dan Purdie has decided to play politics with the Sunshine Coast”.

Premier Steven Miles this week announced his Labor government’s first 2024 election commitment would be a new bridge to Bribie Island.

In a press release, the government said the new bridge would allow for four lanes of traffic along the entire length of Caboolture-Bribie Island Road.

The proposed concept design would provide two eastbound traffic lanes and a dedicated active transport path for bike riders, pedestrians and mobility devices. Westbound traffic would use both lanes of the existing bridge.

The Bribie Island bridge is about 840m long. Picture: Shutterstock

A business case for the new Bribie Island bridge is yet to be concluded.

“Extensive community consultation has already shown that Bribie Island locals and visitors alike understand the need to plan for the future,” Mr Miles said.

“It’s my commitment to Queenslanders that, if re-elected, I will build a new bridge for Bribie Island.”

Related story: Plans revealed for new bridge to Bribie

But deputy Opposition leader and Member for Kawana Jarrod Bleijie said Labor was attempting to match the LNP’s commitment to deliver the Bribie Island bridge.

In a press release, Mr Bleijie said that after declaring in 2020 a new bridge “wasn’t the priority” and upgrades “weren’t required until after 2031”, Labor now wanted Queenslanders to believe it was suddenly a priority.

“Labor is now so desperate they will say and do anything to win an election, including backflipping on their past record for the Bribie bridge,” Mr Bleijie said.

Mr Purdie said the Bli Bli bridge on David Low Way was built in 1959 and now carried an estimated 15,000 vehicles a day.

“Bli Bli is one of the fastest-growing suburbs on the Coast and the bridge is no longer fit for purpose,” he said.

MP Dan Purdie with local businessman and community leader Ed Hackenberg at the Bli Bli bridge.

“Transport and Main Roads (TMR) has done extensive consultation identifying the need to replace it, but instead of fixing it the government has instead chosen the cheaper $1.6 million Band-Aid solution.

“Why won’t the Premier make the same investment (for the Bribie bridge) here on the Sunshine Coast and replace the Bli Bli bridge?

“This is just another example of the state Labor government taking the residents of the Sunshine Coast for granted, failing to invest in the infrastructure needed to support our region’s growth.”

Related story: Relief for motorists as bridge works completed

Mr Skelton said Labor was committed to improving the Bli Bli bridge.

“While the Sunshine Coast LNP try and play politics, I’m focused on getting things done for Nicklin – including delivering a plan for the Bli Bli bridge,” he said.

Robert Skelton.

“Last year, I was proud to secure funds from the Labor government to get the ball rolling to upgrade the Bli Bli bridge.

“Dan Purdie has decided to play politics with the Sunshine Coast. He knows that his Sunshine Coast colleague and deputy leader Jarrod Bleijie has said that the LNP ‘absolutely commits to the Bribie Island Bridge project’ and it was their priority.

“If Dan Purdie has an issue, he should pick up the phone to Jarrod Bleijie and tell him what he thinks of the LNP’s own commitment.”

TMR revealed last month that possibilities for upgrading the Bli Bli bridge and its approaches were being investigated by construction services company GHD.

The study would draw on community feedback provided for the Maroochydore-Noosa Road Route Strategy in 2022, and would aim to address priorities highlighted by residents.

The state government has allocated $1.6 million for the planning phase but said timeframes for detailed planning, design and construction would depend on future funding commitments and state-wide priorities.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.auYou must include your name and suburb.

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