DESPITE years of planning and a $232 million flood-proof entrance to the city, Rockhampton Regional Council crews were yesterday forced to scramble and work through the night to allow heavy traffic to be diverted from flood-prone Gladstone Rd.
As diversions were yesterday afternoon put in place redirecting tens of thousands of vehicles onto Upper Dawson Rd, council crews were forced to rip up and widen sections of road outside Allenstown Square to allow B-double trucks to travel through the city.
It's a situation both mayor Margaret Strelow and chair of the Local Disaster Management Group councillor Tony Williams would rather have avoided, but said they were at the mercy of the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
Cr Williams said the department was responsible for presenting diversion plans to council once triggers for closure of Gladstone Rd were reached.
PHOTOS | Crews were left scrambling to prepare the road for heavy vehicles
Initially, that diversion would have seen B-doubles restricted from travelling Upper Dawson Rd.
But Cr Williams said after a request to allow those heavy vehicles through the residential area and back onto the main route through Rockhampton, the decision was made by the department to complete eleventh hour road works which saw crews working into the night.
When The Morning Bulletin put to Cr Williams that it seemed a little late to be completing the works just hours ahead of Gladstone Rd's full closure, he replied "my sentiments exactly".
In 2015, The Morning Bulletin put questions to the department regarding what would happen in the event of a major flood.
Questions put to the department in December 2015 were:
- Can you please advise what the detour will be for the Bruce Hwy through Rockhampton should Gladstone Rd be flooded in the future?
- Will the diversion be open to all traffic including trucks?
- Can the selected roads take two weeks of normal Bruce Hwy traffic?
- What is the volume of Bruce Hwy on Gladstone Rd traffic currently?
- Is there a further contingency plan if the road breaks down in that time?
- Are there any plans to improve proposed detour in preparation for the next major flood?
- Are there any budget/costings associated with detour plans?
A spokesperson for the department said the Yeppen South project had elevated the Bruce Hwy above the region's highest recorded flood peak.
"These important projects allow traffic and essential services to continue to move across the region in times of flood," they said.
"If the Capricorn Hwy closes, residents from Gracemere, Mt Morgan and western communities can use the alternative route via Gavial-Gracemere Rd and the Burnett Hwy to access Rockhampton via the Yeppen bridges.
"In the rare event a flood affects all lanes of Gladstone Rd through Rockhampton, traffic is detoured via Upper Dawson Rd and Derby St.
"We work closely with councils to repair any damage caused from detours from state-controlled roads.
"While limited accessibility and increased travel times can be expected during a natural disaster, we work hard to restore normal access as quickly as possible.
"Our records show an average of 23,321 vehicles a day use Gladstone Rd in Rockhampton."
The department did not respond to The Morning Bulletin's questions about work needed to upgrade the detour route.
The Morning Bulletin has contacted the department again this morning for a response to the latest developments.
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