Cyclone Debbie: Rocky’s Own, Toll use ‘alternative options’

By: Anjali Behl


Road transport will not be severely hit in Rockhampton despite flooding, Smith says

Cyclone Debbie: Rocky’s Own, Toll use ‘alternative options’
Bryan Smith says Rocky's Own operations are continuing despite bad weather conditions and road closures.

 

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warns floodwaters in Rockhampton will continue to rise until tomorrow, with Fitzroy River expected to peak in the early hours of the day.

The devastation caused during and in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie has affected road infrastructure and many regional communities in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

The Flood Recovery Road Access Group (FRRAG) warns that major roads in the Rockhampton region are still expected to be cut in the coming days.

However, both Toll Group and Queensland-based Rocky’s Own Transport say, they are continuing to run operations notwithstanding the bad weather and damage to roads.

Rocky’s Own Transport CEO Bryan Smith says in spite of the flooding, road transport operations in Rockhampton will not be affected as severely as previously warned.

Despite the "havoc caused by the recent weather events, the company’s operations are running as usual", Smith tells ATN.

He says the warnings were more alarming than the situation on the ground currently.

"We see these types of weather events every year at varying degrees in these parts and while the situation is much more serious this year, it not as bad as some of the worst flooding events like in 1991," Smith says.

Regional Queensland communities, including Rockhampton, are resilient and "learnt to live with these kinds of events", and for most road freight businesses, maintaining operations during severe weather events is "part of operations", he says.

With the Yeppen Floodplain traffic transition plan now in place, Smith says, traffic movement has eased in the area.

The aftereffects of the cyclone will be far less severe in Rockhampton than in agricultural regions like Bowen, where farmers are calling the land to resemble a "war zone".

"The situation is more serious in Bowen," Smith says.

"I’m hearing reports about agricultural land being damaged and tonnes of produce being wiped out in that part."

With Queensland Farmers Federation (QFF) estimating the actual crop damage to Bowen's agriculture industry at about $100 million, the storm could have lasting effects on the price of fresh produce, including tomato, capsicum, eggplant and mango.

Meanwhile, Toll says the cyclone affected both road and rail operations in north Queensland, central Queensland, southeast Queensland, and northern NSW over the last week.

While "most" operations are back up and running as normal since the weather event, there are "still several diversions and delays in place across the road network".

"Rail closures continue to be impacted due to flooded areas, however we are working closely with our customers to ensure alternative options are in place where required," a spokesperson tells ATN.

"Toll is still monitoring the current flood situation in Rockhampton and assessing transport corridors, we will be communicating to customers that may be impacted by further road closures."

The company states its assessment team is "currently evaluating people, equipment and alternate routes to get all customers’ freight delivered safely as soon as possible".

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