General News

24 January, 2023

Weather causes chaos on roads

INTENSE rainfall caused flash flooding over the Kennedy Highway north of Tolga last Wednesday, creating fast-flowing rivers of red soil and water to emerge from side roads, while motorists were also caught out trying to use some local roads, prompting residents to call for improved drainage.

By Robyn Holmes

Workers clear a culvert between Rocky Creek and Tolga
Workers clear a culvert between Rocky Creek and Tolga

More than 80mm of rain fell in a very short period of time near Tolga and Rocky Creek, forcing water onto the highway, emerging out of Channel Road East, Carbeen Road and another unnamed dirt access road, taking motorists by surprise, many having to hit the brakes to avoid hitting the water at high speed.

At one stage, Main Roads closed the Northey Road intersection to clear one of the culverts.

Meanwhile, on local roads, a video emerged of a motorists trying to drive down Griffin Road which was absolutely inundated with water rushing out of the fields beside the road, and locals are fed up with the situation.

On behalf of many of the residents, an email was sent to Tablelands Regional Council on Thursday to request an urgent meeting with Cr Bernie Wilce about the flash flooding, and the very deep washouts on the sides of the road which residents say makes the road very dangerous.

“We have our own ‘give way’ rule to try to make the road safer from the butchery to Campana Road - we stop and give way to whoever is on the road as the sides are rutted and dangerous,” the letter says.

“And I have to say today we have all had enough. We have tolerated the walkers in the mornings and afternoons who walk up the road where there is just no room whatsoever for a walker and traffic in both directions.

“It’s getting dangerous. None of us want to have to have a serious accident on our road.”

The residents say the increased number of cyclists using the road, either in single file or in a group ride, was just getting too much, but they are not certain what the solution to this could be.

“Griffin Road is getting busier and busier now with more housing and farmers with cattle and cane farms and orchards and the slaughter house and butchery - a single lane is just not suffice as it’s crazy busy,” the letter says.

“When the roads are slashed they don’t do a proper job - the bottom of the road on the left going down can’t be slashed as it has been left to overgrow with elephant grass which falls on the road and now there are all trees lining the side of the road.

“There is no drain so there is nowhere for the water to go besides on the road and over to the right side which can’t handle all the rain that comes down the hill.”

The residents say council spent $750,000 on drains and filtering systems several years back but “all that has been over grown trees now growing in there - it is just a joke”

“We need this addressed now – it’s dangerous and we are tired of just getting a ‘patch up’ and ‘she’ll be right’ attitude.

“It is noted today (Thursday) they are doing repairs to the road. But this is not even putting a bandaid on the matter. The problem starts from the very top of the hill on both sides from the very start of Griffin Road to the very end.”

Before receiving the residents’ letter, council’s general manager infrastructure and environment Mark Vis responded to questions by The Express.

“The drainage on Griffin Road is designed for more frequent, less intense events, which means it is suitable most of the time. Roads act as secondary stormwater flow paths for more intense, less frequent events, like Wednesday’s,” he said.

“We recently completed a drainage study for the wider Tolga area and will prioritise the recommendations according to our strategic priorities and budget allocations.

“Upgrading drainage does not necessarily mean no ongoing issues as upgrades are designed for more frequent, less intense events.”

He also advised that council would raise the flash flooding on the Kennedy Highway on Wednesday with the Department of Transport and Main Roads at their next Traffic Advisory Committee meeting.

Main Roads has also promised that the final asphalt works on the Rocky Creek section of the highway will be completed by the end of this month, pending weather and construction conditions.

“Until then, we will monitor this section and carry out maintenance repairs as required,” a spokesperson said.


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