Forced stoppages hampering cyclone efforts
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.