Eton farmland will be transformed into a major transport hub

An artist's impression of the transport hub.
An artist's impression of the transport hub. Contributed

ETON could be transformed into a major transport hub, with plans before Mackay Regional Council for a multi-million dollar transit centre.

A planning application from Eton Farm Trust's Paul and Leanne Fordyce to separate 10 hectares of their 40-hectare site opposite the T-intersection of the Peak Downs Hwy and Eton-Homebush Rd, includes detailed plans for a roadhouse with room for 1000 parking spaces, including 100 spaces for trucks.

It's a strategic location for the heavy haulage industry heading west and for north-south traffic to Sarina bypassing Mackay.

In April 2014 the Department of Transport and Main Roads recorded an average of 1100 heavy vehicle movements daily through Walkerston.

Eton has ongoing long-term parking issues. Many vehicles are left on the roadside when their owners catch coaches to hinterland mines.

Mackay Regional Council is considering the application, which was lodged on behalf of the owners by Cardno, a global professional infrastructure and environmental services planning and design company.

The Eton site was described in their application as being a convenient point of transit for miners and transport companies.

The development would provide a large secure area for vehicles, truck parking and mining rigs to replace the potentially dangerous roadside parking.

The applicant describes the roadhouse as "strategically located" on the junction of the two state-controlled roads and a "logical bypass route" for Bruce Hwy traffic.

Once completed, the roadhouse would provide 5-10 jobs and offer a full range of services, including fuel, food and dining.

Negotiations and agreement with a major fuel company to operate the roadhouse still have to be finalised.

Depending on demand, the roadhouse would operate on a 24/7 basis.

Fatigue management was described as one of its benefits as the roadhouse would provide a 1000-vehicle parking area expected to encourage mine workers to use coach transport to their worksite rather than drive fatigued at the end of a shift.

The plan includes dormitory-style rooms for overnight accommodation for long-haul truck drivers as an alternative to sleeping in their vehicle cabins.

Parking and trailer coupling would be available for short and long-term stays and around 35 spaces would be provided for in-transit/heavy vehicle overnight customers.

Areas would be designed for a truck wash and vehicle maintenance.

Topics:  centre eton plans transport