In 1920, roads were fast improving with assistance from a Main Roads Commission, and motor lorry carriers were starting to take over road transport. Better communication also came with the upgrading of roads.
A Main Roads administration building beside the Shire Hall opened in 1965, replacing an office at the site of an old motor garage on the north side which had become headquarters of roadwork for the central west.
[All photos Copyright of Main Roads Department, Barcaldine]
In June 1966 a conference of Main Roads officials and the clerks of eight western shires took place in Barcaldine to co-ordinate a roadworks programme. At that time only Blackall was linked by bitumen sealed road (completed in 1965).
Sealing of the Barcaldine/Longreach link was finished in 1967. The first coach service from the south through Barcaldine to Longreach was undertaken by Ansett Pioneer, and later by Skennars, passing through the town in night hours. The shire council constructed a bus shelter in 1970 and rented it to the coach companies. An attempt to provide tea making facilities had to be abandoned because of vandalism but the shelter was used in 1985 by Greyhound, which connected there with its Rockhampton/Longreach service, begun in 1979.
Bitumen sealing to Aramac was completed in 1976 and from December 1975 a government subsidy on the Aramac tramway was withdrawn, effectively closing the service.
The Barcaldine to Emerald stretch of the Capricorn Highway became infamous as the years passed and sealing was not completed. Bitumen reached Alpha in 1973 but parts of the Alpha/Emerald road were still impassable in wet weather with others rock-strewn and rutted in the dry. Despite press headlines about the ‘missing link’, the ‘goat track’ and other degrading terms, and an organised Drummond Range Safari of protest in 1972, the final gap was not sealed until 1984.
In 1985 Barcaldine was headquarters of Division 7 of the Main Roads Department, an an enormous area encompassing 11 shires and employing over 60 personnel. A Soil Testing Laboratory and store room at the old office site was in the charge of Paul Webb, who had been with the Department since 1963.