23 November 2022
Supported by additional contract resources, Southern Downs Regional Council has been working on flood disaster recovery since March 2020. In addition to the normal Council works budget, more than $16 million has been spent on the flood repair program to date and a large portion of the works now expected to reach completion by June 2024.
Under favourable weather conditions, Council operates a twelve-month capital works program that addresses routine maintenance and includes new projects that improve the amenity of the region. However when a flood event impacts the region, a three-month emergency works program is triggered with funding immediately applied to making the road network safe. Due to back-to-back events between November 2021 and May 2022, the focus of works has by necessity been on emergency works to restore safe access across the road network, wherever possible. The compound effect is that the 2020, 2021 and 2022 emergency works programs has put the 2022-23 capital works program back by nine months.
Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi said that like all businesses, Council has limited access to the resources necessary to undertake these works including people, machinery and materials.
“We have focused resources according to the priority of the repairs in an endeavour to cover as much ground as we can in the shortest possible time,” Mayor Pennisi said.
“But adding to this perfect storm is the fact that contractors are also experiencing overwhelming workloads and consequently Council’s access to an additional contracted workforce is limited.”
With damage to the Southern Downs road network the worst in living memory, Mayor Pennisi is asking residents to be patient as crews prioritise works.
“We are asking residents to be patient as Council crews prioritise infrastructure repairs from the 2022 flood events on top of works still in progress from the 2020 and 2021 season,” he said.
“Our officers are methodically working through this extraordinary work load and have prioritised repairs according to funding arrangements and resource availability.
“We are sincerely grateful to the crews who continue to work tirelessly to restore roads to an acceptable standard and ask the community to afford them the respect and time required to do their work.
“From the end of August 2022, we have moved back to the restoration program, which is aimed at permanent repairs and returning the assets back to their pre-disaster condition.
“Council appreciates that this may be a long time to wait for repairs to occur on roads that you use every day and the reality is that someone’s road will be first and someone’s road will be last.
“We currently have thousands of kilometres of road to repair, circa 300 culverts to replace or refurbish, hundreds of table drains to clean out and more potholes than ever experienced in our lifetime.
“The prediction is that these repairs will take somewhere in the vicinity of two years and that is on the basis that we do not get any further rain.”
Council thanks the community for its patience as crews work through the extensive repair and maintenance program and assures the community that every repair is considered through a lens of future flood proofing the region’s roads and preventing long-term impacts on service levels.
Residents can also follow the progress of the works program online at https://www.sdrc.qld.gov.au/living-here/roads-infrastructure/current-and-future-road-works
Council encourages the community to download the MySDRC App from their preferred App Store and to use the ‘Fix It’ tab on the App to photograph and upload the exact location of infrastructure damage in their area. By lodging a ‘Fix It’ request via the App residents can receive a reference number which can be used to enquire about road repairs.
Last edited date 23 Nov 2022