A $5m olive branch

Hanson offers to pay for road upgrades

By Mitch Gaynor

HANSON is proposing to pay over $5 million for road upgrades to support its application to double rock extraction at its Glasshouse Mountains quarry, a new report reveals.
The funding, which will go towards upgrading six intersections and widening parts of Coonowrin Road, is aimed at mitigating the impact of nearly 20,000 extra heavy vehicle truck movements annually if the application is approved by the Sunshine Coast Council.
Hanson lodged its application to increase rock extraction at its Glasshouse Mountains quarry by 600,000 to 1.2 million tonnes per annum in July last year.
The application was met with immediate strong opposition by a number of local residents and was followed with a request by the council for more information about the proposed expansion.
In a number of reports recently lodged with council, it can be revealed that: 19,133 extra heavy vehicle movements will be expected per year during peak production;
Traffic is forecast to increase by less than 5 per cent at the Steve Irwin Way-Reed St intersection (entry to the Glasshouse township);
Hanson has proposed to pay $5.15m to upgrade six intersections and widen key roads on the quarry route;
Noise control measures will need to be implemented to ensure compliance;
and Hanson says it is committed to working with Indigenous groups with cultural matters.
Planning group Groundwork Plus, which was commissioned by Hanson, concluded that the development was “unlikely to increase the frequency or severity of crashes along the transport route”.
It found that there would be a less than 5 per cent increase in delays at the Steve Irwin Way-Reed St intersection for at least the next 10 years.
However some sections would face longer delays.
Road upgrades and pavement impact contributions were recommended, it stated.
Proposed intersection upgrades include Mount Beerwah and Old Gympie roads and Coonowrin and Fullerton roads as well as 1.6km of widening and improvements, mainly along Coonowrin Rd.
“To contribute to a safer road environment for all users of the transport route, Hanson are committing to road and intersection upgrades estimated to cost approximately $5,000,000,” Groundwork Plus associate Jim Lawler wrote in a submission supporting the application.
The new submissions showed Hanson was also continuing to offer to pay 11 cents per tonne between 600,000 tpa and 1.2mtpa for route maintenance.
It currently pays 47 cents per tonne up to 600,000 tonnes. SLR Consulting, which undertook traffic assessments for Hanson, forecast there would be an increase of 19,133 heavy vehicles per year to a total of 42,840 – amounting to an average of 117 trucks per day through the region.
The traffic report stated Hanson’s “pavement contribution” would be $80,930 per year at peak production. Groundwork noted community concern regarding the application, saying it was a typical response to extraction industries.
“The recommended road and intersection upgrades, along with the ongoing monetary contributions to the Council, and the State Government, will mitigate the perceived negative impacts on the community from the increased truck movements of the proposed development,” it stated.
Environmental mitigation proposals include: a modern crushing and screening plant with high standard acoustic treatment is to be operated centrally on the site; dust mitigation measures; establishing a groundwater monitoring; and maintaining and developing existing and future stormwater infrastructure to retain stormwater. Hanson rejected a request by the council to provide a copy of the 1995 Environmental Impact Assessment on the original quarry approvals.