BRIDGE FACES MORE TROU­BLED WA­TERS

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - PAUL WE­STON

A BRIDGE link­ing the Gold Coast to Mt Tam­borine and the Hin­ter­land is tipped to wash away again de­spite the State Govern­ment spend­ing $15 mil­lion on an up­grade after floods washed the old struc­ture away.

As the coun­cil turned its fo­cus yes­ter­day to pre­par­ing its dis­as­ter man­age­ment pro­gram for the up­com­ing cy­clone sea­son, con­cerns sur­faced about the John Muntz Bridge and cause­way at Ox­en­ford.

Theodore MP Mark Booth­man went on the at­tack after ask­ing Trans­port Min­is­ter Mark Bai­ley about the in­tegrity of the re­paired bridge and whether it could with­stand a flood on the Coomera River sim­i­lar to the cy­clonic flood­ing that de­stroyed the old bridge in March last year.

Res­i­dents have told the Bul­letin the Govern­ment and city coun­cil have not con­sulted each other on the restora­tion work.

Mr Bai­ley told Par­lia­ment De­part­ment of Trans­port and Main Roads engi­neers ad­vised re­pairs were car­ried out to meet Nat­u­ral Dis­as­ter Re­lief and Re­cov­ery Ar­range­ments guidelines, mean­ing “the as­set was re­stored to its pre-flood con­di­tion”.

But he said the re­stored bridge would pro­vide bet­ter pro­tec­tion. The new bridge had a flood im­mu­nity of 18 per cent AEP (annual ex­ceedance prob­a­bil­ity), which Mr Bai­ley said meant there was less chance of wa­ter flow­ing across the crit­i­cal hin­ter­land con­nec­tion.

Rec­ti­fied scour pro­tec­tion was de­signed to with­stand flood­ing of “up to 1 per cent chance in a cal­en­dar year”. He said the pos­si­bil­ity of an­other flood like that of March 2017 was less than that.

But Mr Booth­man ac­cused the Govern­ment of re­fus­ing to pro­tect its state­con­trolled road net­work.

He said Mr Bai­ley’s re­ply con­firmed the Govern­ment’s restora­tion works would “do next to noth­ing to pre­vent this crit­i­cally im­por­tant ar­te­rial road from be­ing washed away again”.

“The State La­bor Govern­ment says it is coun­cil re­spon­si­bil­ity and coun­cil blames the state, yet it is the res­i­dents and busi­nesses who rely on this road who will suf­fer most,” Mr Booth­man said.

“No more ex­cuses, no more blame game. Fix the river­bank, stop the ero­sion and se­cure this crit­i­cally im­por­tant road net­work.”

The coun­cil yes­ter­day used a fo­rum and train­ing ex­er­cise at Car­rara to be­gin test­ing its ca­pac­ity to man­age “dis­as­ter re­cov­ery’’.

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