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Gap Creek Road roadkill survey (2009-2011)

When Brisbane City Council proposed the upgrade and sealing of Gap Creek Road (linking the suburbs of Kenmore Hills and The Gap through Mt Coot-tha Forest), residents were concerned about the environmental impacts of the upgrade, and a likely increase in roadkill. As there were no data on roadkill, THECA, together with REPA (Rural Environment Planning Association Inc) set out to collect some.

A small group monitored the road for six months before the upgrade, and for eighteen months after, driving the length of the road four times a week.

What were the results? Very briefly: although a limit of 50 kph was posted for the whole road, the traffic speed increased in the northern and southern residential sections, but not in the central forested section where traffic calming devices were installed as part of the upgrade. Roadkill rates increased 4.9 times in the suburban sections, but only 1.6 times through the forest, although traffic numbers nearly doubled in this period.

Two practical results stand out from this study and will, we hope, add to the information available to road planning authorities in the future:

  1. To keep traffic speed down, physical calming devices such as chicanes and speed platforms are far more effective than signage
  2. Lower traffic speed means lower rates of roadkill

This research has been published in the Australasian Journal of Environmental Management as Implications of upgrading a minor forest road on traffic and road-kill in southeast Queensland: D.N. Jones, M.R. Griffiths, J.R. Griffiths, J.L.F. Hacker and J.B. Hacker (2014).