Qld ramps up flood proof infrastructure

RECONSTRUCTION of a higher, stronger Sir Thomas Mitchell Bridge after last year’s flood in Queensland has been finished 12 months ahead of schedule as the state ramps up efforts to solidify its transport infrastructure.

Marion Lopez

The bridge was speedily rebuilt to higher flood-proof standards after it was damaged in last year’s flood and the flood before last.

It is now almost 1m higher than the previous flood-damaged version, providing greater flood immunity, and 3m wider to support bigger road trains.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss joined Federal Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott, and State Member for Warrego Howard Hobbs, to officially commission the bridge on Saturday.

Truss said the bridge would provide a safer link between Mitchell and Roma, and southwest Queensland communities.

“The Sir Thomas Mitchell Bridge is a critical link on the Warrego Highway between Mitchell and Roma and the new crossing will significantly improve this national freight route,” he said.

“The project was completed 12 months ahead of schedule … a significant achievement for all involved in its construction.”

Hobbs said the bridge suffered significant structural damage during the floods of 2012 and 2011.

“The second flooding hastened the works and helped determine the new height to protect usability in future flooding,” he said.

Though the bridge was only commissioned two days ago, it was opened to two-lane vehicle traffic and pedestrian use on July 31 this year.

“Further work, including landscaping and demolition of the old bridge was carried out in September, with the final seal to be applied to the highway in mid-November, weather permitting,” Scott said.

The Sir Thomas Mitchell Bridge is part of the $58 million upgrade to the Warrego Highway between Roma to Mitchell, with the Australian government providing $44.1 million to the project.