Brisbane's new tunnel will open with eight speed cameras
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By Patrick Lion
November 22, 2009 11:00pm
BRISBANE'S new cross-river tunnel will be lined with eight fixed speed cameras over its 6.8km length.
The tunnel will account for almost half of the fixed speed camera sites across the entire state once it is operational.
Motoring groups said it was a case of ''gross overkill'' and accused the State Government of contradicting its own camera policy, insisting locations were supposed to be chosen on historical crash data.
Police Minister Neil Roberts yesterday said the cameras would help enforce the 80km/h speed limit and reduce the significant speed-related crash risks a tunnel posed.
''Crashes in tunnels have the potential to be particularly hazardous due to the enclosed nature of the environment,'' Mr Roberts said. ''Fixed speed cameras have been proven to raise drivers' awareness of speed limits and ultimately slow motorists down.''
Editorial: Save lives first before issuing fines
However, RACQ spokeswoman Lynda Schekoske said the motoring group supported cameras only where there was a significant crash history.
''Eight cameras in six or so kilometres seems somewhat excessive,'' she said. ''We would certainly think that having cameras there for enforcement reasons from the outset would not be very appropriate.''
The move is likely to provide a new revenue bounty for the cash-strapped Government, with about 4000 drivers a month caught at the state's first three fixed camera sites last year.
Mr Roberts said the Clem7 cameras would be placed in four locations in pairs and on each side of the road and would be clearly signed, like the state's nine above-ground cameras. Only six of those above-ground cameras are operational but the other three will be brought online in coming weeks.
The tunnel cameras will be digital, unlike the previous wet film models.
[replacer_a]QUT Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety researcher Mark King yesterday said while the move was unusual, the cameras were appropriate given the unique nature of the tunnel.
''We have had some high-profile nasty crashes in tunnels and when it does happen, it can be quite bad,'' he said.
The tunnel, linking Bowen Hills north of the Brisbane CBD to Woolloongabba in the south, is expected to open in the first few months of next year.
The cameras will mean a driver could lose their licence and cop an $800 fine in a matter of minutes if they drove through the four sites at 93km/h.
National Motorists Association Australia (NMAA) spokesman Michael Lane, a fierce critic of speed cameras, said the tunnel plan was ridiculous.
''It's gross overkill,'' he said. ''I assume it's a reasonably straight tunnel. You don't need four in each direction. That is a ridiculous waste of money.
''What if someone goes through there and their speedometer is faulty, they get four tickets and they lose their licence?''
But late today, a spokesman for Police Minister Neil Roberts' office clarified that, at worst, a speeding motorist could be hit with two tickets.
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