HUGHES ROAD CAUSEWAY FLOODING – THE FACTS

Just-the-Facts-HobokenAOnce again I’m happy to provide some facts on an issue raised by Ross Peddlesden in the lead-up to the elections.

Far from being negative about his proposals, I would hope that the provision of well documented facts from professionally qualified persons would be seen as a positive contribution to any debate within the public forum.

HUGHES ROAD CAUSEWAY FLOODING – THE FACTS

Council is obviously aware of the relatively rare flooding that occurs at the Hughes Road Causeway between Causeway Drive and the Child Care Centre during exceptionally heavy rain events. These usually only last for a day or so and over the past 16 years I can’t recall a single complaint about the condition of the (current) 2.25km road. I suspect that this is because most local residents are tolerant and understand the nature of the causeway as a known watercourse.

Notwithstanding this, proposals to eventually raise the level of the Causeway have been around for well over a decade as part of the design of the North-South Distributor Road which will eventually carry a significant increase in traffic over an extended length of some 20kms on the Hughes Road Extension.

In 2012 the Council commissioned an additional report on the options associated with providing flood immunity over this section of roadway for rain events of varying Average Recurrence Interval (ARI), specifically 10 years (Q10) and 50 years (Q50).

The option of a bridge or a culvert was investigated for each of the two storm events with the following associated costs (remembering that these figures are now 4 years old).

1 – Q10 Culverts (12 / 1.5×1.5m RCBC) $ 1,403,000

2 – Q50 Culverts (16 / 1.8×1.8m RCBC) $ 1,597,000

3 – Q10 Bridge $ 2,036,000

4 – Q50 Bridge $ 2,756,000

Another factor to be borne in mind is that Council takes every possible opportunity to access State & Government grants to save ratepayer’s expenses. Once the HRE is completed and significant increases in traffic movements over the causeway can be demonstrated, Council will be in a much stronger position to demonstrate ‘need’ as part of the assessment criteria for any successful grant application.

Being mindful of the inconvenience to local residents during the isolated occasions when Hughes Road is breached, I tend to carry out my own on-site inspections during downpours and post updates on my website and Bargara Facebookers so that motorists can take extra precautions or take alternative routes. By way of example, these are links to a few in the lead-up to the devastating 2013 tornados and floods:

http://www.gregbarnes.com.au/rain-inundation-update-1-1-00pm-25113/

http://www.gregbarnes.com.au/rain-inundation-division-5-update-2-5-00pm-25113/

http://www.gregbarnes.com.au/rain-inundation-update-3-7-30am-26113/

In short, this is an ancient issue which has already been well researched, costed and advanced by Council with a view to implementing it when the Hughes Road Extension (HRE) is completed and when traffic movements can justify such an expenditure against a list of regional priorities.

As far as I’m concerned, the (now estimated) $1.5M to $3.0M would be far better utilised towards the completion of the section of the HRE through the vacant land to the south of Watson’s Road. (apart from the link between the new Rifle Range Road roundabout to the proposed Wearing Road intersection, the remaining section is yet to be funded). This would provide the essential link between Coral Cove and Burnett Heads and enable traffic movements to be significantly reduced on densely populated foreshore roads such as Miller Street, Woongarra Scenic Drive and various Esplanades where every property has a driveway access and the roadway is used by many cyclists.

Hughes Rd Ext Alignment - Adopted by Council

The future sealing of the section of Back Windermere Road south of Coral Cove would further extend the connection to Elliott Heads as per the original master plan.

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