Normanby Bridge delays frustrate motorists
UPDATE 6pm: Delays of up to 45 minutes are being endured by flood-bound motorists desperate to cross Normanby Bridge in the wake of flood waters subsiding.
Gympie Regional Council opened the bridge later this afternoon after removing debris from the deck and inspecting the structure.
Traffic has been backed up in both directions, with cars snaking all the way back up to the Phoenix Hotel.
The congestion is expected to ease later in the evening.
Normanby Bridge remains Gympie's only access to the Southside until Kidd Bridge emerges from floodwaters.
Drivers are reminded to exercise patience and show consideration.
UPDATE 5pm: Stranded Southside residents now can make their way along Normanby Bridge after floodwaters continued to fall this afternoon.
Council workers used a bobcat to remove debris from the bridge as the last of the water drained from the deck.
Large logs and branches became entangled on the bridge during the height of the flood.
It is understood Gympie Regional Council also carried out an inspection of the bridge to ensure motorist safety before declaring the bridge safe for use.
The flood peaked at a height of 20.30m around midday Monday, exceeding the flood level of 2011.
It was the biggest flood in Gympie since 1999.
Update from the Local Disaster Coordination Centre
The Mary River is falling slowly. Minor to moderate flooding in the upper catchment area, with flood levels in the Gympie CBD and downstream still at major flood heights. At 7.30 this morning, the Gympie CBD height was 17.4 metres.
Water supply - rural towns
Amamoor, Imbil and Kandanga residents are urged to reserve water consumption for emergency situations only as supplies are currently at extremely low levels in these towns.
Gympie Regional Council yesterday transported a technician via helicopter to restore Kandanga's water supply up to a day earlier than otherwise would have been achieved.
Goomeri's town water supply is currently 50 per cent restored.
Approximately 143 businesses and 25 residences have received varying levels of inundation across the region.
The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, coordinated via the Veteran Rural Fire Brigade, have been assisting with clean-up efforts from first light today.
Clean-up crews will be deploying a number of vehicles so that, where ever possible, they can assist with clean-up efforts across the region.
Affected business operators and residents can register for clean-up assistance by calling the Local Disaster Coordination Centre hotline on 5482 6399.
Business owners are encouraged to be onsite when their businesses are being "washed-out".
When cleaning-up, minimise contact with flood waters, which may be very dirty and unsanitary. Wear protective clothing, wash hands and feet, and ensure that any general use or household items which have come in contact with the flood waters are properly cleaned and disinfected. Tips to help in clean-up and recovery are available at www.health.qld.gov.au/disaster/
Rubbish bin collection
Residents are advised to put their rubbish bins out on their usual collection days, where possible, and contracted cleaning services will make collections as soon as they can within the coming days.
Energex has restored power to almost 1000 properties overnight. Almost 3000 properties are currently without power across the region. Visit www.energex.com.au for updated and local information.
Crews continue to work around-the-clock to restore power where it is safe to do so.
To report loss of supply, contact Energex on 13 62 62 or, for former Kilkivan and Tiaro shire areas, Ergon on 13 22 96.
For inundated properties, property owners are reminded that they require safety certification from a registered electrician before power can be reconnected.
Early assessments estimate significant damage to local road infrastructure, greater than the 2011 floods. Motorists are urged to drive with caution, avoid flood waters and obey signage.
Key Bruce Highway and Normanby Bridge Road closures are unlikely to be opened till late afternoon, at the earliest.
For local road closure information, contact the Local Disaster Coordination Centre hotline on 5482 6399 or visit www.gympie.qld.gov.au.
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.
Evacuation centre locations remain open at:
- Imbil RSL Hall - 127 Yabba Road, Imbil
- Gympie Civic Centre - Mellor Street, Gympie
- Kilkivan Public Hall - 31 Bligh Street, Kilkivan
- Rainbow Beach Community Hall - corner of Rainbow Beach Road and Cypress Avenue, Rainbow Beach
- The Pavilion - Adrian McClintock Park (Gympie Showgrounds), Southside.
For updated information
Weather and hydrology warnings and forecasts - listen to your local ABC radio station or visit the Bureau of Meteorology website (www.bom.gov.au)
For clean-up assistance and other local disaster response information, call the Local Disaster Coordination Centre hotline on 5482 6399 or visit www.gympie.qld.gov.au.