Bridge inspections continue in CQ

The Capella Creek bridge was one of 70 in the region that needed inspection.
The Capella Creek bridge was one of 70 in the region that needed inspection.

RAIL bridge inspections are continuing on the Springsure and Clermont Queensland Rail branch lines after the government took the drastic action to shut them early last month.

On July 5, the Rail Safety Regulator received advice the underground bridge inspections reported to have been conducted by QR staff on the Central Line had in fact not been undertaken, with records of them happening being fabricated.

"Given the advice received it was believed that QR Limited could no longer provide assurance that the bridges were safe for use by rail traffic and there was a potential that there was a real and immediate risk to public safety," Minister for Transport Scott Emerson recently said in reply to a question on notice by Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson.

While the Emerald to Winton section of the line was reopened, "the Prohibition notice still applies to both the Springsure and Clermont branch lines while QR undertakes the necessary inspections to ensure the integrity of these bridges", Mr Emerson said.

A QR spokeswoman said weather permitting, inspection and repairs would be finished in the coming weeks with the Emerald to Clermont line reopening by the end of August.

The Rail Safety Regulator would also implement an audit strategy to ascertain that QR managed timber bridges in the district were appropriately certified as safe and fit.

Mr Johnson called for the findings of the audit on the bridges to be made public as soon as possible.

Mr Emerson said due to the volume of information and audit's complexity, the findings would be made available in the fourth quarter of 2012.

It was expected an extra 2000 head of cattle would find their way on to Central Queensland roads each week from Clermont alone due to the rail shutdown.

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