The Federal Labor Government has today published the final report of the Fitzroy River Floodplain and Road Planning Study, and in line with its key recommendations will invest $5 million towards getting the Yeppen Floodplain Upgrade ‘shovel ready’.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the southern approaches of the Bruce Highway to Rockhampton were cut for over two weeks during the January 2011 floods.
“A road can never be made 100 per cent flood proof but this planned upgrade could greatly improve flood immunity and that is why the Federal Labor Government is putting $5 million towards detailed planning to make it shovel ready,” Mr Albanese said.
“With major projects like this, it’s important we get the planning right. The Fitzroy River Floodplain and Road Planning Study is the product of exhaustive preliminary planning work and extensive community consultation including with the Queensland Government.
“This detailed planning work will now be expedited and will form the basis of any future funding.
“The planned package of works along the section between the Burnett Highway and the Yeppen Roundabout includes two new, raised northbound lanes and a new 1.6 kilometre long bridge.”
Work is already well advanced on Stage One – the upgrade of the roundabout and the construction of a new, higher bridge across the Yeppen Lagoon – which is on track to be completed this year.
Federal Member for Capricornia, Kirsten Livermore, welcomed the funding to progress the planning of the Yeppen Floodplain Upgrade.
“We can’t have this section of the Bruce Highway cut for that length of time again, it is devastating for the local community as well as our nation’s productivity as it brings the movement of people, freight and services to a full stop,” Ms Livermore said.
“During the January 2011 floods when the road was cut for over two weeks, I spoke to people all across the region who suffered from the Bruce Highway being cut off.
“People could not get to work, freight and supplies could not get out to our local communities and some businesses even had trouble paying their staff as they could not operate as normal.
“We need to do everything we can to minimise the impact of any future floods on our community and it is time we got this section ready for construction.
“Overall, the report may not be the result that some locals were hoping for, but we can all agree that we need to take action to reduce the time the Bruce Highway could be cut in the future.”
The Fitzroy River is the second largest waterway in Australia—beaten in size only by the Murray Darling system—and with a catchment of 150,000 square kilometres the volume of water has had devastating impacts to roads and the community in this area in the past.
The Yeppen Floodplain Upgrade would upgrade the Bruce Highway to keep connections in and out of Rockhampton open even during a one in 100 year flood.
The Fitzroy River Floodplain and Road Planning Study Outcomes and Implementation Plan can be found at http://www.nationbuildingprogram.gov.au/publications/reports/