Traffic flows on the new bridge across Yeppen as the old lane of the Bruce Highway is cut by flood water.
Traffic flows on the new bridge across Yeppen as the old lane of the Bruce Highway is cut by flood water. Allan Reinikka ROK060417aflood7

Updated Gladstone Rd flood detour to improve traffic flow

THE Department of Transport and Main Roads has changed its plan to keep the Bruce Highway moving during major flood events after last year's detour was criticised for causing lengthy delays and frustration to motorists and local residents.

A $232 million flood-proof entrance to Rockhampton was talked up as a "game changer" for the city, but while it kept traffic moving last year, progress on the road was slow, confusing and frustrating.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) revealed its updated diversion plan in a recent Rockhampton Regional Council infrastructure committee meeting.

Upper Dawson Rd/Derby St will continue to act as the main detour route for all traffic during a disaster through south Rockhampton.

Changes will see parts of Lower Dawson Rd and Gladstone Rd kept open for as long as possible to keep side streets open and maintain access to businesses, with two police controlled intersections to stop highway traffic and allow local traffic to enter Upper Dawson Rd.

The roundabout at Allenstown Square will also be closed to allow the default highway to flow without interruption.

 

Crews worked through the night to rip up and widen sections of Upper Dawson Rd to allow B-doubles to be diverted from Gladstone Rd.
Crews worked through the night to rip up and widen sections of Upper Dawson Rd to allow B-doubles to be diverted from Gladstone Rd. Michelle Gately

Although Upper Dawson Rd had been earmarked as the temporary highway during floods for years, Acting Mayor Tony Williams told The Morning Bulletin last year there was no real plan.

He said it was a "last minute" call to allow the trucks through the city, via Upper Dawson Rd and Derby St, which saw council crews working into the night to cut away sections of kerb to allow larger vehicles through the roundabout at Allenstown Square.

The kerbing has been left in this half-finished state ever since.

Even after this decision was made, the diversion went through several changes which caused endless confusion for drivers and local residents.

Cr Williams believes Allenstown State School and St Peter's Catholic Primary School may have been forced to close if the 2017 flood had fallen outside the Easter school holidays.

READ: 'Game changer' plan turns to chaotic bungle for Rocky road

Major stuff up after years of doing nothing for Rocky road

 

Rockhampton flood.Photo RACQ CAPRICORN HELICOPTER RESCUE SERVICE.
Rockhampton flood.Photo RACQ CAPRICORN HELICOPTER RESCUE SERVICE. Contributed ROK050417aheli5

Significant changes have been made to the new diversion route after consultation with council, police, schools, businesses, emergency services and Allenstown residents.

Cr Williams said he was pleased to fix several issues identified with the traffic diversion during last year's flooding.

"Finally having a diversion plan ready to implement gives our residents piece of mind, but it really is a band-aid solution," he said.

"Hopefully this diversion plan will not be necessary should the South Rockhampton flood levy come to fruition."

Updates have also been made to traffic management plans for north Rockhampton, including keeping large sections of Lakes Creek Rd open to local traffic.

A diversion will direct traffic back onto Emu Park Rd, but it will be closed to heavy trucks including B-doubles which will have to travel via Yeppoon.

Works to rebuild the kerbing at Allenstown Square are expected to start in August, with an October completion date expected.

 

Cr Tony Williams with flood mitigation in North Rockhampton.
Cr Tony Williams with flood mitigation in North Rockhampton. Allan Reinikka ROK030417awilliam

The detour speed will be 60 km/h from Gracemere along Upper Dawson Rd and Derby St.

The junction at Derby St and Gladstone Rd will be reduced to 40 km/h.

A TMR spokesperson said the plan will be tabled at the upcoming Local Disaster Management Group meeting.

"Any traffic changes required during a disaster or major disruptive event would be published on our website and social media, and also shared with council and community websites," they said.

"The adopted plan, which is similar to the one used during the 2017 flood event, was developed with council and Queensland Police.

"It involved consultation with major stakeholders about the impacts the temporary traffic diversions would have on their operations during a disruptive event."

Several maps detailing the best way to access various parts of Allenstown will be available to The Morning Bulletin in coming weeks, but the key changes are listed below.

 

Upper Dawson Rd
The red line indicates where traffic will be diverted along Upper Dawson Rd during floods. Google Maps

KEY DIVERSION CHANGES

  • There are three versions of the plan based on floods of 8.5m, 9m, and 9.5m
  • Upper Dawson Rd/Derby St will act as the main detour route for all traffic during a disaster through south Rockhampton.
  • There would be restricted access, under police and traffic control, from side streets connecting with Upper Dawson Rd.
  • Improving access to side streets off Upper Dawson Rd will be key
  • Parts of Lower Dawson Rd and Gladstone Rd will be kept open for as long as possible to keep side streets open and maintain access to businesses, with two police controlled intersections to stop highway traffic and allow local traffic to enter Upper Dawson Rd
  • Ward St access (through to Mater Hospital) will be left-turn only from Upper Dawson Rd
  • The roudabout at Allenstown Square will be closed to allow the default highway to flow without interruption
  • Access to the shopping centre will be via Caroline St with traffic control at the underground car park to direct motorists
  • Margaret Street will remain open for school traffic
  • There will be a second diversion route for emergency services, with police controls giving access to Upper Dawson Rd access when needed
  • Maps will be distributed to schools showing dedicated routes to and from St Peter's Catholic Primary School and Allenstown State School
  • A small section of Derby St residents will have dedicated routes mapped out
  • The only changes to the plan will happen as water rises and falls, which will all be available on maps before any flood event to avoid confusion