An innovative and cost-effective idea is helping to keep koalas safe on one of Magnetic Island’s busiest roads.

Townsville City Council has installed five cargo nets along sections of the recently installed guardrail along Horseshoe Bay Road to help the native animal climb over the rail and into the bush.

Infrastructure Services Committee chairperson Kurt Rehbein said the nets were a simple solution to help get the koalas off the road.

“Koalas are regularly crossing along sections of Horseshoe Bay Road,” Cr Rehbein said. “These sections are known as their food corridor and they will regularly travel along it. In the past, they would be able to get into the bush by going under the guard rail. Recent requirements requiring the installation of a motorcycle rub rail at the bottom of guardrails has meant the koalas can no longer get under them. Council heard incidents of near misses involving koalas and motorists after the installation of the new guardrail and worked closely with the Magnetic Island community to come up with a solution. The netting has been installed to help the koalas climb over the rails and off the road to help improve the safety for the native animal and motorists along the busy section of road. Council has not heard of any further incidents of koalas walking along the road since the nets were installed.”

Community Health, Safety and Environment Committee chairperson Maurie Soars said this was a great example of Council using a cost-effective and innovative solution to help protect the island’s koala population and improve motorists’ safety.

“Through consultation with a variety of groups we have come up with this interim measure to help protect the koalas,” Cr Soars said. “The koalas are a major draw card for tourists and locals to come to Magnetic Island. We are now working on longer term, more robust and permanently engineered solutions. Council will roll these out as soon as possible to help ensure the koalas are able to safety access their food corridor on the island.”

The work was part of the Horseshoe Bay Road Rehabilitation and Guardrails project, which was completed earlier this month.

For more information on the project, visit Council’s website.