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04 November 2010

ABC host Spencer Howson says Ipswich bridge at Gailes is ugly

QT.com.au

TOP-RATING radio host Spencer Howson has told his listeners the bridge over the motorway heading into Ipswich makes him feel like he's driving into a prison.

The contentious caged bridge over the Ipswich
Motorway near Gailes is now at the centre of controversy.

TOP-RATING radio host Spencer Howson has told his listeners the bridge over the motorway heading into Ipswich makes him feel like he's driving into a prison.

Howson, whose ABC show is the highest rating breakfast program in Brisbane, was talking yesterday about Ipswich City Council plans to cage in David Trumpy Bridge.

As The Queensland Times reported on Wednesday, the council said it was forced to cage in the bridge to stop people throwing missiles on to River Heart.

Howson invited his listeners to air their views about cages around bridges and left them in no doubt what his opinion is.

"As you drive down the Ipswich Motorway to Ipswich – I'm sorry Ipswich – but it does feel like you're driving into a prison when you go under that Welcome to Ipswich sign," he said.

"There's a huge bridge there and it looks ugly, grey; a huge caged monstrosity that you drive under."

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale laughed when Howson's comments were passed on to him.

"I've got people saying it looks very modern. It's designed by an architect so maybe it's a bit like art," Cr Pisasale said.

"Poor old Spencer is entitled to his own opinion.

"I'd prefer to have the sign without the cage but Main Roads built it and they have a responsibility to protect people.

"A lot of people don't like the word caged and I agree but people need to be protected from having rocks thrown from bridges."

Howson also invited Paul Turner from the RACQ for his opinion on whether bridges needed cages around them.

"Where are we going to stop?" Howson said. "Are we going to have to cage every bridge in Queensland to stop rock-throwers; to cave in to rock-throwers?

"It's not a good look to have these prison-style cages on bridges."

Mr Turner said that "there are some obvious bridges which would benefit from caging".

"We would primarily look at those over high-speed motorways and freeways," he said.

"That's where the most damage can be done and the most risk to life and limb can be caused by kids or people throwing stuff off the bridge. In residential areas where the speeds are lower it would not be a priority to cage those bridges."

Not wanting to buy into Howson's comments, a Transport and Main Roads Department spokesman said the department "wishes that anti-throw screens weren't necessary anywhere in Queensland".

"We also encourage the community to help out by being our eyes and ears and reporting reckless and illegal behaviour to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000."

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