Qld road network reconnects after floods

Queensland's battered road network is being reconnected after flooding across the state cut off large sections of major routes

January 17, 2011

Queensland’s battered road network is being reconnected after flooding across the state cut off large sections of major routes.

Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace says 70 percent of the roads affected by floods have reopened, with only two of the 14 highways closed in sections.

He says vital freight routes, major links and key bridges blocked by the floods are now clear across central, west, north and south east Queensland with more stretches of road set to come on line in days.

The Centenary Highway between Brisbane and Ipswich only reopened in both directions on January 15.

"A week ago we had more than 155 roads severed by flooding and damage, with few sections of road escaping the devastation left by floodwaters. Today that number stands at only around 50 roads in sections," Wallace says.

"We need the roads. We've been damaged by giant floods and we will be tested by one of the greatest recoveries ahead of us."

Wallace says engineers are working round the clock to inspect roads. He says weather, speed, traffic control, and driving restrictions are in place on reopened roads.

In the Lockyer Valley and further west, flood-devastated communities of Dalby, Toowoomba, Helidon, Withcott and Blacksoil are now connected all the way to Brisbane after the Warrego Highway, Toowoomba range and Ipswich Motorway last Friday.

The Warrego Highway between Dalby and Miles, west of Toowoomba, reopened yesterday after several floods inundated the local network for two weeks.

Wallace says for the first time in three weeks motorists can now drive all the way from Brisbane to Miles along the Ipswich Motorway and Warrego Highway.

"Vital services can now surge back to the agricultural towns and villages of Warra, Chinchilla, Macalister and Brigalow and all the communities along the corridor using the highway," he says.

In the north along the east coast from Brisbane to Cairns stranded towns and cities, including Maryborough and Bundaberg, the vital freight route along the Bruce Highway at Gympie and Rockhampton, has reopened. Parts of the Capricorn Highway will reopen in coming days.

In Logan, Beaudesert-Beenleigh Road at Luscombe Bridge and Mount Lindesay Highway at Jimboomba at the Jimboomba Creek Bridge are now open.

On the Darling Downs, the New England Highway between Warwick and Wallangarra, the Cunningham's Gap, Leichhardt Highway between Wandoan and Miles, and the Gore Highway around Millmerran are all open.

On the Sunshine Coast, the D'Aguilar Highway at Mary Smokes Creek and at Kilcoy Creek is now open in both directions.

In central Queensland, the Dawson Highway between Gladstone and Rolleston, the Fitzroy Developmental Road between Bauhinia and Woorabinda, the Burnett Highway between Biloela and Dululu, the Leichhardt Highway between Westwood and Taroom and the Carnarvon Highway from Wallaroo Range through to Rolleston are all open.

Roads are still littered with debris from the floods. As clean-up crews continue their work, Wallace has urged motorists to avoid all non-essential travel.

Crews were still undertaking an extensive clea nup operation to clear silt and debris from the network.

"If you do drive, drive to conditions, avoid driving on the road shoulders as these areas are less stable and travel slowly so you can avoid any pot holes and debris on the highway," he says.

The Government is unsure of how much financial damage the floods caused to the road network. Wallace says long-term repairs are unprecedented and could take years for the full extent to be known.

"We've got a long hard road ahead of us for long term repairs to the network."

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