Lytton Road is unsafe

The roll-over of a truck on Lytton Road at the intersection with Colmslie Rd in early 2020 illustrates the danger of this roundabout (pictured), and the costs and disruption involved in emergency repairs.
Intersection where my friends truck fell over

In 1992 a truck driver friend entered the intersection of Lytton, Junction and Colmslie Roads. He was driving a load of timber from the Petrie Paper Mill through the intersection to the Port of Brisbane. Why he didn’t take the Gateway Motorway which would have been the logical route to the Port is unclear.

Whether it was the camber of the road or the way the load had been placed on his truck, it certainly was not his speed, the load shifted as he entered the intersection; and, almost in slow motion, the truck went over bringing down power lines. The wires were sparking all over his cabin. My friend was lucky to get out alive. He had an enormous bruise on his leg which, over the next few days, went black.

Nearly thirty years later, similar accidents are still occurring.

The bicycle group Space for Cycling is calling on local and state governments to fix this design problem from a cyclist’s perspective. Fair enough.

But we must consider all uses of this corridor and the people who live on this road. Making suburban roads safe for heavy transport, cars, bikes and pedestrians is a question of how much money government are willing to spend. Heavy transport trucks should not share roads with other users. Railways are a better form of transport of heavy machines and goods.

In 2014 the entire Petrie pulp and paper mill was shipped offshore to Indonesia’s second largest city, Surabaya, by Australian firm Varun International. Lytton Rd is now designated as a Freight Access Route, and has a high load of heavy vehicles.


In 2019 Brisbane City Council spent over $90 million widening a short stretch of the road in East Brisbane. There was organised opposition by a local group called Lytton Road is wide enough and the local councillor, Jonathan Sri. People were forced out of their homes. But Brisbane City Council failed to make the road safe, they were more intent on providing land for developers along that stretch of the river, the Humbug Reach. Public land should never be sold to developers.

Drivers have difficulty turning in and out of business premises and connecting streets such as Colmslie Road and Riverside Drive. Delays on Lytton Road jeopardise the viability of businesses in this precinct, particularly those involved in the transport of refrigerated food.

At around 7:20pm on Friday 20 March 2020, emergency services received multiple 000 calls reporting a large tanker had rolled over on the busy roundabout at Lytton Road and Junction Road, Morningside and was leaking fluid. All services as well as specialist technical rescue and HAZMAT + Scientific teams attended the scene to try and contain the leak and make the truck safe. The exact contents of the tanker are not known, however it is believed to have been carrying diesel.

South-East Media

It seems that local and state government would rather clean up the mess after than address the underlying causes of the problem. Lytton Road is unsafe. How many more Granville Train disasters have to happen before the transport system is fixed? On 1989, two buses and a semi-trailer collided within months of weach other on the Pacific Highway at Cowper, near Grafton and Kempsey in northern New South Wales, killing a total 56 people and injuring many others. Only then did governments step in to create a dual carriageway to make the highway safe.

Ian Curr
22 Dec 2020

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