'My friend would be alive if the highway was four lanes'
SARAH and Daniel Walker would still be alive if the stretch of the Bruce Highway between Torbanlea and Gympie had been four lanes, says their grieving friend Nick Channells.
The siblings were killed in the Easter Monday three-car head-on collision just north of Tiaro while travelling along the highway on April 17.
The plea for upgrades to the notorious two-lane stretch of highway comes after the Federal Government allocated $536.4 million to expand the Bruce Hwy between Brisbane's Pine Rivers and the Sunshine Coast's Caloundra Rd from four to six lanes.
The funding, an 80/20 Federal-State split was announced as part of Tuesday night's Budget.
The news angered Mr Channells, who said it appears the government was prioritising easing congestion over the safety of motorists.
An analysis of 15 years of government crash data revealed at least 28 people have died on the highway between Gympie and Torbanlea in head-on collisions alone.
"If there had been four lanes, 100 per cent Sarah would still be alive today," Mr Channells said.
"It's up to the different levels of government to pull their heads in, pull together and get this road fixed to four lanes at least."
"Sunshine Coast gets six lanes for their peak hour, what do we get?"
"They can't ignore it any longer."
Fellow passengers, Sarah's 14-year-old son Sam and friend Peter Knowles were critically injured in the crash.
The siblings will be laid to rest by their family and friends on May 20.
The group had visited their hometown Bundaberg for a family Easter celebration, and were on the return trip to Brisbane when they were struck by another car.
An analysis of data from the past 15 years shows about 30 fatal crashes, not just head-on collisions, have occurred on the Bruce Hwy between the M1 and Caloundra Rd.
Mr Channells is now looking for answers as to why the government isn't allocating funding to expand the highway.
"Every weekend for the next month I'll be travelling to Bundaberg, past where Sarah died," he said. "I never feel safe on there."
Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien championed three major funding allocations for the national highway in his first federal budget, however there were no plans outlined for more lanes between Gympie and Hervey Bay. For the foreseeable future, there is no other major change for the Bruce Hwy in the works.
When asked about the number of road deaths between the two regional towns, Mr O'Brien said he will highlight the "need for upgrades of the Highway between Gympie and Maryborough" when he addresses parliament today.
Mr O'Brien said the discrepancy between the crash figures was most likely due to there being less chance of a head-on between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast because of the four lanes.
"We'll have four lanes from Melbourne to Gympie - I don't want to be the Member who says this is where the good road ends," he said.