Artist impression of the viaduct proposed for North Bundaberg.
Artist impression of the viaduct proposed for North Bundaberg.

PIER PRESSURE: The issue with north flood evacuation plan

Queries about why the proposed Bundaberg North evacuation plan hasn't been priorised have been raised amid the push to actualise the Bundaberg East Levee.

Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith has repeatedly called for the Federal Government to invest in the levee, after the state promised $42.5m for the project during the recent election.

But before the Federal Government gets out the cheque book, they've asked the State Government to complete a business case on the levee, which is underway.

In meantime the NewsMail has sought clarity about the State Government's position on the Bundaberg North evacuation route.

According to the Bundaberg 10-year Action Plan, during major flood events northside properties are isolated and the window for evacuation is narrow.

Which is why a two-lane viaduct on the eastern side of Hinkler Avenue from the roundabout at Bundaberg North State School to the existing Tallon Bridge was proposed as part of the Action Plan.

A viaduct is a bridge that is long or a series of bridges that connect two points together and are similar in height.

The plan was to ensure properties weren't isolated and give them more time to get out.

However, the State Government has concerns the viaduct would change the flow of flood water.

According to the evacuation plan documents, during future flood events nearby areas will experience a low increase of flood levels and flood water velocity due to the new viaduct piers.

Artist impression of a viaduct connection to the existing Tallon Bridge.
Artist impression of a viaduct connection to the existing Tallon Bridge.

Mr Smith said the Bundaberg East Flood Levee had been recognised by the council, department and State Government has having the largest benefit in terms of cost of living, flood mitigation and protection of people's lives and livelihoods in Bundaberg.

He said flood mitigation was not a subject for politicians to "play games".

"Disaster resilience is the responsibility of both State and Federal Government, which is why the Palaszczuk Government has committed to funding half of the costs, by putting $42.5 million on the table," Mr Smith said.

"Unfortunately, the modelling of an extended viaduct and off-ramp stemming from the Tallon Bridge has demonstrated a change to the flow of future flood waters that would increase flooding for residents living in Bundaberg North.

"However, the Government has installed water level monitoring that will warn and trigger the need for early evacuation to ensure the safety of residents in Bundaberg North."

He said these findings have been made public knowledge through the publishing of the 10 Year Action Plan fact sheets.

 

Bundaberg MP Tom Smith and Federal Labor Senator for Queensland Murray Watt speak with Julie Stewart from Stewart and Sons Coaches about what a flood levee would mean for her family's business.
Bundaberg MP Tom Smith and Federal Labor Senator for Queensland Murray Watt speak with Julie Stewart from Stewart and Sons Coaches about what a flood levee would mean for her family's business.

Mr Smith also assured Bundaberg North residents "the design of the East Levee does not allow for increased flooding from water flowing back across the river".

The levee documents state the proposed levee has been designed to ensure that its construction will not make flooding worse elsewhere.

"The hydraulic model of the Burnett River was used to address this very issue for a range of potential levee options," it reads.

"The potential levees were modelled, and the change in flood level outside of the levee was measured.

"In general, it is possible to displace water from areas like Bundaberg Creek and Kendall Flats but not from areas like the Burnett River and the North Bundaberg floodplain.

"The suitability of a particular location for a levee depends on the existing patterns of flow during a major flood."

Artistic impression of the viaduct proposed for North Bundaberg.
Artistic impression of the viaduct proposed for North Bundaberg.

 

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