By Rose Astley
There was little to no warning for Gympie’s northern and western areas as a deluge of rain devastated the area Friday, 7 January.
From 9am Friday to 2am Saturday, up to 650mm of rain was recorded at Mt Kanigan to Gympie’s north, 567mm was recorded at Miva, Glenwood saw 523mm and Kilkivan saw 390mm fall.
This intense rainfall saw moderate flooding in Gympie’s CBD and major flooding to the north as the Mary River swelled to some incredible heights.
The Bureau of Meteorology predicted the Mary River to peak at 14 metres in Gympie, a total height of 13.61 metres was recorded at the Weir which caused Kidd Bridge to go under water, and flood water to creep over the highway near the Normanby Bridge Overpass.
At Miva, the river peaked at a massive 19.86 metres causing concerning flooding for nearby farmers, many of whom are now in the midst of locating missing livestock.
Huge traffic delays were observed along Brisbane Road in Gympie as traffic wishing to travel north came to a standstill due to the highway being cut in a number of locations, including Tiaro where flooding surpassed 20 metres (10 metres above bridge height).
Extensive damage was observed along the Burnett Highway and Murgon-Gayndah Road once flood waters receded, asphalt had been ripped from the road under the force of the moving water.
A spokesperson from the Department of Transport said now that water is receding from our rural areas, they will begin to assess the damage of the roads.
“Now the weather is clearing, we are focused on reopening a safe and operational transport network to connect people, places, goods and services.
“Where we can, we are undertaking temporary repairs to ensure roads are accessible and safe as soon as possible.
“Once we are able to assess the full extent of damage, we will begin the task of longer-term repairs to damaged roads and bridges.
“Our crews have been working around the clock to monitor flooding, inspect and assess damage, undertake emergency works and re-open roads.
“Timeframes for restoring access at Murgon – Gayndah Road and Bauple – Woolooga Road at Running Creek Bridge are difficult to gauge until waters recede and we can complete an assessment. As soon as it’s safe for our workers, we will be in there working to regain access for local communities.”
TMR also reminded residents to visit QLDTraffic.qld.gov.au to find the latest information on road closures while their team works to repair the damage.
“Remember to be aware of and drive to the changing road conditions, and if it’s flooded, back it up.
“In many locations, there may still be water over the road, fallen vegetation and debris, potholes and damaged road shoulders.
“We would like to thank residents and all road users for their patience as we inspect and repair damage to roads.”