Dametto demands start date for Bruce Highway flood immunity projects
Whilst the mass clean-up is underway in the Far North, Hinchinbrook MP and KAP Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto has wasted no time contacting newly appointed Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mr. Bart Mellish, to ensure that critical flood immunity projects outside the devastation zone are not forgotten.
Mr Dametto said it would be wrong to compare the damage in Hinchinbrook to electorates such as Cook, Cairns, Mulgrave, Barron River and Hill, but nevertheless, road closures and flooding along the entire northern stretch of the Bruce Highway must still be urgently addressed.
“Following the recent deluge, the Bruce Highway was closed in four places across the Hinchinbrook electorate. With critical freight services now trying to prioritise reaching the Far North, it is imperative that the Bruce Highway remains open and fully operational,” he said.
“It’s a fact that another major rain event in the near future will see the Bruce closed again, and that would be devastating to the communities north of us who desperately need that supply chain open. There’s no reason why it should be like this.
“There are two particular areas of the highway that close every year due to flooding and frustratingly, both are fully funded Transport and Main Roads flood immunity projects that are yet to see a shovel hit the ground.
“The first is the notorious Gairloch washaway north of Ingham and the second is at Dallachy Road/Bruce Highway, south of Tully. The Dallachy Road project has been dragged out for more than seven years.
“Dallachy Road was in the early stages of commencement when the Federal Government called their 90-day review of infrastructure projects. Culverts were delivered to the site in readiness for the project and regrettably, that’s where they have remained for several months, slowly sinking into the mud.
“While this government has been chasing Olympics butterflies, they have not been listening to the cries of the North. We need critical road infrastructure, not a Gabba redevelopment or a wasteful two-week party.”
Blenners Transport Director, Les Blennerhassett said the Dallachy Road project must be re-tendered now so that construction can begin in April, as soon as the wet season has passed.
“There’s no point waiting for June to put the tender out and start construction just before the next wet starts,” Mr Blennerhassett said.
“They’ve had more than enough time sitting on this, it has to go tender. Give us a confirmed start date in the first half of 2024, anything short of that won’t be good enough.
“Failing that, if they’re going to continue stuffing around, TMR need to make allowances for HC class vehicles (trucks) to pass through 300 millimetres of water.
“The minute Gairloch has water over the road there is a blanket road closure to all vehicle types. Semi-trailers are not going to get washed away in 300mm of water and allowing trucks through at that height means essential freight is getting to where it’s needed up to 12 hours earlier than it otherwise would.
“This allowance shouldn’t apply to any car, not even four-wheel drives. But in the absence of structural damage there is no reason why a 50-tonne truck can’t pass through water half a wheel deep.
“The Governments talk a lot about the cost of living hitting Queenslanders hard, yet they are doing nothing to reduce these ridiculous freight delays that will only see costs passed on to consumers for pricey detours and alternative routes.”
Earlier this week Mr Dametto wrote to Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mr Bart Mellish seeking his commitment for a confirmed construction start date for both essential flood immunity projects.