Driver’s scary encounter as tree falls on highway

A MOTORIST whose car was nearly run off the Gillies Range by a fellow motorist trying to dodge a fallen tree has called for better maintenance of the dangerous stretch.

Millaa Millaa resident Bridget Wilson was travelling home from Cairns along the Tablelands highway on Monday about 7pm, when she drove around a blind corner and encountered another vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road.

"They had taken evasive action to avoid a tree that had just fallen," she said.

"I don't know how we managed to avoid crashing head-on, I really don't know. But I had headlights in my eyes, and next thing I know, my little Hyundai's right on top of the tree that's across the road."

Ms Wilson was unhurt in the incident, but her vehicle suffered front end damage.

She said she was incredibly lucky her vehicle had not completely veered off the side of the highway, down the steep embankment.

Millaa Millaa resident Bridget Wilson
Millaa Millaa resident Bridget Wilson

"There's a guardrail on the side of the road, but my car could have easily gone through it," she said.

The accident comes eight months after Bayview Heights mum Tammy Machen, 38, was killed on the Gillies Range Rd after a falling tree struck the vehicle she was driving.

In the wake of the tragedy, the Department of Transport and Main Roads has been progressing an $18 million package of safety upgrades on the highway, between the top of the range and Atherton, as part of the Queensland Government's $112 million Targeted Road Safety Program.

Front end damage to Bridget Wilson's car, after striking tree that fell across Gillies Highway.
Front end damage to Bridget Wilson's car, after striking tree that fell across Gillies Highway.

Ms Wilson said there needed to be better vegetation management of the dangerous highway, which she travels along six times a week.

A TMR spokeswoman said the department did not receive any reports of a fallen tree on Gillies Range Rd on Monday night.

"TMR maintenance crews monitor roadside vegetation as part of routine maintenance activities and takes action wherever necessary," the spokeswoman said.