Council rebuilds the approach to Pickering Bridge on Moy Pocket Road repairing after recent flooding.
Council rebuilds the approach to Pickering Bridge on Moy Pocket Road repairing after recent flooding. Contributed

Trucks don't mix with wet road

A MOY Pocket resident is claiming Gympie Regional Council had ignored its duty of care when it came to approving a local quarry.

David Bade, who lives along Moy Pocket Road said he saw some horrific things on the road, which desperately needed an upgrade but not at the expense of ratepayers.

And now outspoken resident Ian Mackay says the northern approach to Pickering Bridge, along the same road, had collapsed due to quarry operations.

Mr Bade said council had the chance to make Sunshine Coast Quarries pay to upgrade the road but didn’t, instead approving the operation of the quarry on an unsafe road.

“I find it disturbing for council to say they don’t have a legal leg to stand on (to make the quarry pay),” he said.

He said council should have refused the quarry altogether if they couldn’t legally make the quarry owners pay to fix the road and make it safe.

“Until the road is fixed, liability now (if someone is hurt) has moved from the quarry to the council.”

“It’s absurd. It’s putting everybody’s life in danger.”

So far Gympie regional council has spend $3.5 million upgrading the road with another $3.5 million to go. Mayor Ron Dyne said the State Government should foot the bill for the upgrade, which council couldn’t legally make the quarry operators pay.

Now that Pickering Bridge is closed Moy Pocket residents are calling on council to recoup the cost of repairs from the Sunshine Coast Quarries’ operators, as the effect of numerous heavily-laden trucks prematurely traversing the approach had led to its collapse.

Mr Mackay said after floodwaters had inundated the area on Wednesday quarry trucks “hammered” the northern approach, before waters had completely receded.

He said this led to the saturated sand underlying the bitumen to “turn to mush”.

The bridge closure led to quarry trucks using nearby narrow winding road Gap Connection Road, Mr Mackay said, which breached the quarry’s original conditions of use.

Mr Mackay said he understood the bridge itself was undamaged and said council advised it might have re-opened already.

He said it was a “very obvious example” of how ratepayers subsidised the quarry.

“The quarry paid no contributions towards maintenance of roads damaged by its heavy vehicles.

“In this case they should plainly pick up the tab as the collapse was plainly precipitated by their hasty resumption of usage of the bridge.”

Gympie Times


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