Floods force Sutton Transport to travel extra 280km

Heavy rains and flooding deal a blow to Graeme Sutton Transport, but the operator is slowly clawing back lost ground

Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | March 20, 2012

Graeme Sutton Transport in Victoria’s north-east is slowly recovering after heavy rains and floods caused extensive damage to the road network.

Owner Graeme Sutton is yet to count the financial loss his company has endured following the two-week long closure of roads in his home town of Namurkah.

The general freight company, which transports goods across the state, has eight vehicles. Sutton believes he will have to delay this year’s purchase of two new vehicles due to the effects of floods on his business.

"Because of road closures, we had to take the long way to Melbourne, adding about an extra 280km per trip," Sutton says.

"It has set us back this year. We would have purchased some new equipment but we probably won’t."

Having endured floods in his home town every 15 years, Sutton says he was somewhat prepared for the event.

Fifty-eight acres of his 60-acre farm went under water but his depot and home did not.

"I was lucky, luckier than some," he adds.

"The roads at our depot were closed and cut and I knew they would be. We got our vehicles out of our depot before the flood waters came up. The road was closed for 10 days."

Sutton says his clients have been supportive.

"They all rang up and said if they could offer help – not that we did need it – but they offered it when they saw the floods on the news."

Victorian Roads Minister Terry Mulder paid a visit to the area yesterday, saying almost 350 roads were closed or flood affected since the heavy rains began on February 27.

"Currently more than 160 roads, most of them local roads, remain closed or covered by water," Mulder says.

"VicRoads has begun assessing the damage to the road network and will assist councils with their assessments. Once the waters have receded VicRoads and councils will have a much clearer picture of the repairs required."

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