Apr 02, 2017

Flood-swollen Fitzroy River to spark road, airport closures

Flood-swollen Fitzroy River to spark road, airport closures

Major roads are expected to be cut in central Queensland with predictions of a major flood for the Fitzroy River at 1954 levels of 9.4m.

The Rockhampton airport is also due to close tomorrow (Monday, April 3) at midday due to flooding, with additional flights added to the Gladstone Airport schedule as a result.

And Rockhampton Regional Council has announced that an evacuation centre is open in the Robert Schwarten Pavilion at the Rockhampton Showgrounds for people living in flood-affected areas of the city.

More than 60 emergency personnel today doorknocked more than 1800 homes in areas that will have some form of inundation this week, advising residents to self-evacuate.

The Bureau of Meteorology warns that a major flood peak is expected at Rockhampton overnight Wednesday, with the flood level likely to be larger than the 2011 floods and possibly reaching the February 1954 flood level of 9.4m.

The main flood peak in the Fitzroy system was in the Mackenzie River downstream of Coolmaringa tonight (Sunday, April 2).

Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports Minister Mark Bailey said unprecedented rainfall from cyclone Debbie was moving through the Fitzroy catchment area at a faster rate than normal.

“As a result it is expected the Yeppen Floodplain traffic transition plan will be enacted as early as Monday afternoon ahead of the closure of the low level sections of Bruce Highway,” Mr Bailey said.

“This means both north and southbound traffic on the Bruce Highway south of Rockhampton will use the high level Yeppen South and North Bridges.  

“The Capricorn Highway at the Dawson River between Rockhampton and Duaringa closed last night (Saturday) with an immediate impact on transport operations.”

Mr Bailey said an alternate route would be in place west via the Dawson Highway from Gladstone (Calliope) to Biloela, Rolleston and north to Emerald.

The Burnett Highway and Leichhardt Highways south from Rockhampton to Biloela are currently closed.

“With the volume of rainfall across the region, there is significant damage to road surfaces,” Mr Bailey said.

“I encourage road users to be cautious when driving on Queensland roads and if they identify an issue, advise QldTraffic on 13 19 40 or message TMR on Facebook.

“The safety of road users is our highest priority at this time.”

For road condition advice, visit www.qldtraffic.qld.gov.au or phone 13 19 40.