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Receding floodwater reveals road damage, hazards

Monkland St flood in Gympie.
Monkland St flood in Gympie. Craig Warhurst

RESIDENTS and visitors are advised to stay safe and indoors overnight, with many roads in the Gympie region still cut-off by slow-falling floodwaters.

Local Disaster Coordination Centre Chair and Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne said receding flood waters had also revealed deteriorated road surfaces and hazards such as fallen trees and debris.

"We have experienced widespread and sustained flooding across the region," Cr Dyne said.

"As a result, several key roads will remain cut-off well into tomorrow, including the Bruce Hwy south of Gympie, the Normanby Bridge connecting Gympie and the Southside and Tin Can Bay Rd.

"Council and Main Roads crews continue to work around the clock to open roads where it is safe to do so, but there's not much any of us can do when floodwaters fall so slowly."

Motorists are also urged to:

  • Limit non-essential travel
  • Avoid driving, walking or riding through flood waters
  • Obey road closed signs
  • Be patient: If it is flooded - forget it.

Tune into your local ABC radio station for road closure information.

For main road closures and statewide travel information, call the Department of Main Roads travel service on 13 1940 or visit www.131940.qld.gov.au.

For local road network updates or to report flood-affected or damaged roads, call council on 1300 307 800 or visit council's website at www.gympie.qld.gov.au.

Flood clean-up efforts will continue tomorrow, with business operators asked to be present for wash-outs being conducted by Queensland Fire and Rescue Service from 8am. Sightseers are urged to stay away as a high volume of heavy vehicle activity is expected.

 

PM triggers new flood relief measures

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has expressed personal sympathy to the people of Gympie as they faced their fifth flood in two years.

The Prime Minister said she had triggered new flood relief measure for Queensland, particularly targetting primary producers in the wake of flooding around the state.

Details of the emergency assistance will be available on the Government's Disaster Assist website.

 

Important message to sightseers: Stay away!

LOCAL Disaster Coordination Centre Chair and Gympie Regional Council Mayor Ron Dyne has urged sightseers to stay away from flood-affected areas of Gympie as businesses and residences prepare for another heartbreaking flood clean-up effort.

Cr Dyne said floodwaters were now falling slowing after the Mary River peaked at 18.44 metres in Gympie overnight - impacting approximately 50 businesses, 30 residences and primary producers across the region.

"In Gympie's CBD, there have been reports of vehicles sending wash into businesses and causing further damage to evacuated premises as well as some that had not even been  evacuated, which is totally unacceptable," Cr Dyne said.

"I urge people who are not authorised or involved in the flood response or clean-up to stay away.

"When the flood waters recede more, which may take a long time, wash-outs and other clean-up efforts will commence in earnest and we can expect a high volume heavy vehicle activity in the area.

"Sightseers should stay at home for their own safety and out of respect for those who have a big job to do."

Road closures and changed traffic conditions are in place across the region.

Flood waters are expected to recede slowly, due to prevailing rainfall late yesterday and overnight.

Main roads, including the Bruce Highway south of Gympie, the Normanby Bridge connecting Gympie to the Southside and Tin Can Bay Road are expected to remain cut-off into tomorrow morning.

Motorists are also urged to be patient on the roads, obey signage and drive to the conditions, with deteriorated road surfaces, fallen trees and debris on roads reported throughout the region.

Gympie businesses flooded as Mary River hits 18.44m peak

ALMOST 40 businesses have flooded in Gympie after the Mary River peaked at 18.44 metres in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Gympie Times editor Craig Warhurst, who was out surveying the damage, said the water was now receding, but very slowly.

The town has been hit by its fifth flood in two years with some businesses having only just got back into premises this week after the last flood earlier this year.

The flooding has impacted mainly on Mary and Monkland Streets.

Gympie mayor Ron Dyne said the Bruce Highway was unlikely to reopen until Thursday morning at the earliest.

It was continuing to rain in Gympie this morning but not as heavily as earlier.

The Bruce Highway will reopen when the Mary River level drops to about 14 metres.

Cr Dyne said more than 120 stranded travellers took refuge at the Civic Centre.

About a dozen motorists are isolated on the southern side of Gympie, cut off from town after the Kidd Bridge went under the floodwater.

Mr Warhurst said businesses that had only just moved back included the Dick Smiths electronics store, which reopened on Monday.

The Royal Hotel had been inundated again after resanding floors, while the Gympie Football Club had spent about $50,000 on repairs only to be flooded again.

"People are over it,'' Mr Warhurst said.

Heartbreak and exhaustion in faces of Gympie locals

HEARTBREAK and exhaustion were not quite hidden in the faces of people in Mary St yesterday.

And MP David Gibson warned of a coming financial aftershock that will affect most of us across the region as flood impacts ripple through the economy.

"Scratch the surface and people are suffering," Mr Gibson said.

"Gympie needs help, and not only for those directly affected by flooding, but for the whole economy.

"What I'm seeing is depression and what I am hearing is worry about the cumulative effect of one flood only four weeks after the last one.

"Two months without income, or with greatly reduced income comes on the back of some pretty tough times economically.

"I'll be speaking to (Premier) Campbell Newman and (Community Recovery Minister) David Crisafulli.

"They and the rest of Queensland will see Gympie handling the flood like a well oiled machine, but what they are not going to see is that people are getting to the point where they can't keep doing this.

"Government help has to take the form of some sort of economic stimulus."

Mr Gibson said the financial after-effects of flooding might not be obvious for months.

"It might even be six months down the track but Gympie will need stimulus to drive economic recovery," he said.

"Businesses can't recover if people haven't got money to circulate."

Bicycle retailer Dave Phillips was resigned to the situation as he stood on flood watch at his Mary St doorstep.

"If it's 18m, it comes to right about here," he said.

"I haven't done any business since the last flood (on the Australia Day weekend). It's been terrible."

At Dick Smith, sandbags in the doorway were a sign of hope the water might not quite reach the front door.

Bill Mitchell at Billy's Hotel said evacuation had begun at 10pm and gone through the night.

"It took us two weeks to re-open from last time and two weeks after that it's come in again. It's all right, it happens," he said.

Judy Ernst, of Lady Bird, said evacuation had started at 9.20pm and finished at 3am.

"We're just waiting for Energex to turn off the power," she said.

Gympie Times

Topics:  flooding gympie mary st rain weather



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