Road network cops it in flood event

More than 6000km of roads closed or restricted access after flooding


Weather
Road damage in the wake of recent flooding in North West Queensland. Photo- Queensland Rail.

Road damage in the wake of recent flooding in North West Queensland. Photo- Queensland Rail.

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More than 6000km of roads across the state remained closed or with restricted access in the wake of severe flooding.

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Thousands of kilometres of roads across the state remained closed or with restricted access in the wake of severe flooding. 

As of Thursday afternoon, 6420 kms of state-controlled roads within 32 local government areas remain closed or with restricted access.

Transport minister Mark Bailey visited the north west this week to assess the damage.

“Floods waters have turned sections of the Flinders Highway into road confetti,” he said.

“I was picking up bits of the road and bending them easily, like putty in my hands, so that gives you an indication of how much water has gone through there.

“TMR crews are out doing repairs at the moment.

“They are doing good work in extreme temperatures and have made a fair bit of progress removing livestock carcasses from the roads.

“We’re looking to re-open the Flinders Highway as soon as we can, even if that’s down to one lane.”

Mr Bailey said he met with Cloncurry Shire Council Mayor Greg Campbell and McKinlay Shire Council Mayor Belinda Murphy provide them with an update on the road and rail recovery effort.

“Their communities have never seen anything like this and they know the country better than anyone, they know how big the job ahead is,” he said.

Emergency works underway include landslip repairs around Townsville following landslips on Hervey Range Road and Mount Spec road and pavement repairs on sections of the Bruce Highway from Cairns to Mackay. 

Work is also underway on the Burke Development Road at Cloncurry, the Flinders Highway at Charters Towers, McKinlay and Richmond, the Wills Development Road and multiple roads in Winton. 

The Barkly Highway has reopened from the Cloncurry to the Northern Territory border after emergency works, along with the Diamantina Developmental Road from Boulia to Cloncurry and the Mount Isa to Duchess road. 

Still on the agenda is a plan to reopen affect sections of the Flinders Highway to one lane, with bridge inspections on the two O'Connell bridges and the Alice Creek bridge already complete. 

Hervey's Range Road is expected to reopen with restricted access late this week.

The Mount Isa rail line has also been badly affected by the flooding, with Mr Bailey describing the train derailment at Nelia as "one of the biggest logistical challenges" with the recovery. 

“It will be a major operation to remove those wagons," he said. 

Damage to the rail line in North West Queensland.

Damage to the rail line in North West Queensland.

“The ground out there is still incredibly soft, so a temporary road will probably need to be built parallel to the rail line to allow for the wagons to be lifted off the line."

Flinders Shire Council Mayor Jane McNamara is among those counting the costs of the road damage.

"Our staff are contacting people to get preliminary estimations with regards to infrastructure and roads and so forth in the shire, and so far they are estimating $5-$10 million in damage to local roads, with $5 million being a conservative estimate," she said.

"We have 2000km of roads in the Flinders Shire and about three quarters of them have been affected in some manner, with about 40 per cent of them seriously damaged.

"The bigger worry for the whole region is the Flinders Highway being out for such a long time and also the railway line."

The story Road network cops it in flood event first appeared on North Queensland Register.

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