Warning of more floods in far north Qld

Local businesses have disaster relief on offer as road repairs are gauged

Warning of more floods in far north Qld
A rigid comes to grief on Bruce Highway near Deeral. Recovery crews used a crane to retrieve the truck yesterday. Pic: TMR


Transport disruption in far north Queensland looks set to continue with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issuing a new ‘flood watch’ warning for the region.

Further rainfall is forecast for Queensland's far north coast from Sunday, but expected to be further north and significantly lower than the recent widespread, heavy falls which caused major flooding on the Tully, Murray and Herbert rivers the BOM reports.

Queensland Flood Services manager Victoria Dodds says around half of the catchments in Queensland have been in flood warnings this month meaning conditions are primed for renewed river level rises and flooding.

The Bureau has issued a ‘flood watch’ today for coastal catchments from Ingham to Daintree.

"The heaviest falls will be further north and significantly lower than that of last week," Dodds says.

"As a result we're only anticipating river level rises above the minor flood level, but conditions can change so it's important to stay tuned for warnings."

From Sunday to Tuesday, daily rainfall rates in the 50 to 100mm range are expected north of Ingham, with isolated heavier falls up to 150-200mm possible with thunderstorm activity.

"In the Gulf, major flood levels have peaked at Walkers Bend on the Flinders River and are easing. While flood levels are generally easing, we are still in the wet season and the northern monsoon is in a more active phase."

As Queensland gets to grips with the destruction wrought in the state’s far north, certain local transport and transport-related businesses may find themselves in line for assistance.

The Natural Disaster Assistance Package has been enacted under section 96 of the Transport Operations (Road Use management — Vehicle Registration) Regulation.

"Assistance will be provided  to persons who live, operate an Approved Inspection Station premises or has their vehicles registration garaging address in an area where the Personal Hardship Assistance Scheme has been activated," the Natural Disaster Relief Notice reads.

Those affected are advised to refer to the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) website and have three months from March 10 to act.

In the meantime, floodwaters are receding to reveal the damage done.

"The Bruce Highway north and south of Ingham reopened yesterday, while some parts of the state’s north-west are still flood-affected," transport and main roads minister Mark Bailey said on Tuesday.

"Safety remains our priority and it is inevitable that after flooding of this magnitude, parts of the Bruce Highway, and other major inland routes, will need repairs.

"RoadTek crews and TMR inspectors are getting on with the job of assessing damage and prioritising repairs. I’d urge motorists to be aware essential services are working hard in these regions and be patient if delays are experienced.

"Motorists can expect potholes and some surface damage, so it is vital they drive to conditions, obey all warning signs and phone 13 19 40 to report any safety hazards.

"In the Far North District, TMR is undertaking further investigations into a large crack on the Palmerston Highway, where the road is currently closed to one lane. These investigations will determine what treatments are required to repair the road.

"Geotechnical engineers are also assessing landslip sites on various roads, including Palmerston Highway, Gillies Range Road and Kennedy Highway."

Floodwaters had impacted the Bruce Highway, north of Ingham, and repairs were being carried out.

"The stretch of highway at Gairloch, 6km north of Ingham, is currently under speed reduction due to road damage," Bailey said.

"Other areas between Ingham and the Cardwell Range have sustained some damage, including pot holes, and our road crews continue to remove debris and make repairs.

"In the north-west of the state, many roads are still flood affected, however we have inspectors and local government authorities assessing damage as the flood recedes.

"The Burke Developmental Road, north of Normanton, is still under a significant amount of water and is expected to be closed for a lengthy period."


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