Drivers risk lives in floodwaters

THE large red and white barriers and road closed signs across Tableland Road should have been a dead giveaway, but drivers were still risking their lives to try and cross the flooded Essendean Bridge yesterday.

Less than a week after two Korean tourists were swept away at the same bridge, the NewsMail spotted several groups of drivers moving the blockade to try their luck yesterday afternoon.

Rosedale SES group leader Jon Brown warned motorists that trying to cross the river could cost lives as well as a hefty fine.

“It’s extremely dangerous — they have no idea how the conditions will have affected the road,” Mr Brown said.

“It could have a hole formed or damage to the bridge and they’d never know until it was too late.”

After helping save the lives of the two tourists last weekend, Mr Brown feared next time the drivers might not be so lucky.

But despite his efforts to keep the blockade in place, impatient motorists continue to move the heavy barrier and signs.

“I’ve just been down to put the signs back in place, and I’ll bet it will be moved again within an hour,” Mr Brown said.

Mr Brown said drivers who moved the signs could face a $300 fine, or up to $1500 if it was moved by a driver representing a business.

After driving up from Brisbane with a full load of furniture and a cat for company, Bob Tehira was reluctant to turn back at the last hurdle yesterday — but after contemplating his options, turned around to Bundaberg.

“I’m moving house, and it’s been a wonderful trip with not a drop of rain so I thought I’d be able to get through,” he said.

“But I’m not sure how I’ll get there now — I’m certainly not going to risk it.”

Gladstone Regional Council worker Steve Anderson kept a close eye on the water levels at the Baffle Creek crossing yesterday, waiting to alert Main Roads when the floods subsided

“Main Roads will need to do a structural exam before the bridge can be re-opened, in case it’s sustained any damage,” Mr Anderson said. “Because it’s a tidal river, it makes it more difficult to determine when it will be clear.”

According to the RACQ, the following roads remained closed last night: Lowmead Road between Rosedale and Lowmead; Tablelands Road between Miriam Vale and Agnes Water; Tablelands Road at Essendean Bridge; Fingerboard Road near Miriam Vale; Lowmead Road at Scrubby Creek; Gorge Road at Baffle Creek Bridge, and Coast Road at Baffle Creek.

“It’s extremely dangerous — they have no idea how the conditions will have affected the road. It could have a hole formed or damage to the bridge and they’d never know until it was too late.”



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