Forced stop­pages ham­per­ing cy­clone ef­forts

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by John An­der­sen john. an­der­sen@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

FRUS­TRATED truck driv­ers held up by flood­wa­ters south of Ing­ham for the sec­ond time in a week say forced stop­pages are cost­ing them wages and ham­per­ing cy­clone re­cov­ery ef­forts.

In what has be­come an all too com­mon sight along the Bruce High­way, trucks and c a r s q u e u e d a t F r o s t y M a n g o , 5 0 k m n o r t h o f Townsville, yes­ter­day while they waited for flood­wa­ters to re­cede at Frances and Cat­tle creeks just south of Ing­ham.

But, for any­one trav­el­ling on from Ing­ham, even if Cat­tle and Frances creeks had gone down, the road was still cut fur­ther north by the Gair­loch Washaway, Arnot Creek and t he Sey­mour River.

A spokesman for Main Roads Min­is­ter Crag Wal­lace said the wa­ter was still ris­ing late yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

He said there was no in­di­ca­tion when the roads might re­open. The spokesman said the road had been closed by


the both the Queens­land Po­lice Ser­vice and Main Roads.

‘‘ We are told it is one me­tre deep in the He­lens Hill area ( south of Ing­ham). Any­one try­ing to cross is risk­ing their own life and that of any­one who might have to res­cue them,’’ he said.

T h e w o r d s w e r e c o l d com­fort for vet­eran truck driv­ers Ross Adams from In­n­is­fail and Ian Swann from Ather­ton.

They said big trucks could eas­ily go through one me­tre of wa­ter.

They said stop­ping trucks from go­ing through wa­ter that pre­sented no dan­ger was stalling the cy­clone re­cov­ery and dam­ag­ing the econ­omy.

Mr Swann, who was car­ry­ing a trailer load of re­frig­er­a­tors, said he couldn’t un­der­stand why the authorities wouldn’t let large trucks go through.

‘‘ A few years ago they’d let us through, but now we get stopped if there’s a few inches of wa­ter over the road,’’ he said.

‘‘ The cop­pers are say­ing they’d let us through, but it’s the Road­Tek peo­ple from Main Roads who are call­ing the shots.’’

Mr Swann said driv­ers were not earn­ing money when they had to stop.

‘‘ Since 2009, I’ve lost $ 40,000 in wages while stopped by flood­wa­ters on this road,’’ he said.

Both Mr Swann and Mr Adams said the gov­ern­ment had made a mas­sive mis­take in start­ing an up­grade on the Card­well Range be­fore flood­proof­ing t he creeks and rivers to the north and south of Ing­ham.

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