The Eton Range was covered in molasses when this semi-trailer rolled recently. Trucks have benefited from calcined bauxite, which has anti-skid properties to stop vehicles from slipping, and has been put on part of the range.
The Eton Range was covered in molasses when this semi-trailer rolled recently. Trucks have benefited from calcined bauxite, which has anti-skid properties to stop vehicles from slipping, and has been put on part of the range. Contributed

Call to resurface Eton Range

MACKAY'S Road Accident Action Group (RAAG) wants Eton Range on the Peak Downs Hwy to be fully resurfaced with calcined bauxite.

The range has been a hot spot for crashes involving both cars and trucks.

Part of the road has been surfaced with calcined bauxite, which has a high-wear resistance and anti-skid properties.

RAAG road safety co-ordinator Graeme Ransley said safety concerns were not the only reason the entire road should be surfaced with the product.

"Every time the road is closed it costs money," Mr Ransley said.

"(The) whole Bowen Basin stops, fuel stops, buses stop.

"It causes massive interruptions.

"It's a massive cost for emergency services, firefighters, police and traffic management."

The closure of the range also put stress on businesses and their economic growth, Mr Ransley said.

"When the road is closed for two to three hours it causes huge fatigue problems. Employees can't work during road closures."

Two years ago, trucks in particular were suffering, he said.

"There were numerous trucks losing traction and sliding down the range.

"Serious stuff was happening in the wet season.

"(The Department of Transport and) Main Roads have provided a coating of calcined bauxite, which has improved traction for trucks.

"But it hasn't been applied to all (of the) range."

Mr Ransley said 5000 vehicles used the Eton Range during daylight hours each day.

"Putting the bauxite on places on the steep ranges will improve the braking distances dramatically."

The road is notorious for crashes, with trucks regularly blocking the road for hours after losing traction while climbing it.

RAAG has been campaigning for years to have serious safety concerns addressed.

Speed appears to be another contributing factor when it comes to crashes on the range.

In 2009, The Daily Mercury reported 89% of motorists were speeding on the Eton Range.

In February 2008, a high speed of 140.9kmh was recorded in an 80kmh zone near the range.

 

RESURFACED

  • Calcined bauxite is a processed, chemically inert aggregate containing a minimum of 60% alumina
  • Close up, the material resembles roughly cut small-sized rocks
  • The treatment was laid on 560m of the road in 2008
  • No major slippage incidences have been recorded since the calcined bauxite was laid on the road

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