The wheels of Michael Cooke's truck are covered in tar after the road melted beneath them.
The wheels of Michael Cooke's truck are covered in tar after the road melted beneath them. Michael Cooke

Transport Minister slams melting road surface

DODGY roadworks which caused the Bruce Highway to melt were "not acceptable", the Minister for Transport and Main Roads has said, in a scathing review of his own department.

Minister Mark Bailey, who was in Mackay yesterday, said he was "very concerned" about the quality of work on the Bruce Highway near Waverley Creek.

An investigation has been been launched by the Department of Transport and Main Roads after a 2km stretch of the Bruce Highway between Mackay and Rockhampton turned into a material resembling melted cheese last week.

Dozens of vehicles were damaged by the melting bitumen, which left tyres caked with tar and gravel.

"Let's be very clear here, the quality of work there was unacceptable," Mr Bailey said.

"The Department moved very quickly to rectify it, and I can only offer my sincerest apologies.

"I've made it very clear to the department that this is not acceptable, these are issues that have not been issues in the past, yet they are now."

A similar incident south of Cairns early last month gummed up tyres along a section of road, leaving motorists stuck.

Truck drivers were forced to abandon their vehicles by the side of the road, and small towns were isolated while the main road was closed. Residents described the road as turning into "glue".

Minister Bailey said a report into the incident in Far North Queensland is due to hit his desk soon.

"The question is, what are the causes of it and are there linkages between the two different projects; that is what I want the answer to," he said.

"We are getting down to the reasons why to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Speed restrictions on the 2km stretch of the affected highway at Waverley Creek remain in place.

Affected motorists can call DTMR to seek compensation.