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Scenic Rim Accelerates on the Road to Recovery

One year after ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie dealt a devastating blow to Queensland, the Scenic Rim is powering ahead on the road to recovery.

Mayor Greg Christensen said Scenic Rim Regional Council was among 36 Queensland local government areas impacted by the severe weather event of late March and early April 2017 and one of eight councils hardest hit, suffering extensive damage to its road and bridge network.

"This one-in-500-year flood event left in its wake a damage bill of more than $38.5 million, assessed under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) which are co-funded by the State and Federal Governments," he said.

"This included almost three quarters of our entire region's gravel road network, as well as 51 bridges and 26 floodways, with damage to approximately 560 kilometres of unsealed roads which will require around 480,000 tonnes of gravel to restore.

"We have already spent $12.7 million on emergent works, restoration, and design and planning to repair damaged infrastructure and are now accelerating our recovery efforts.

"However, with sealed roads to repair and some bridges, causeways and culverts to replace, we have a lot of work ahead of us that will take this year to complete."

Council has trebled its number of grader crews from three to nine to meet the demand for repairs on the unsealed road network.

To further assist in the recovery, it has awarded an external contract to undertake repairs to sealed and unsealed roads.

"Unsealed roadworks are being carried out in stages to deliver the works efficiently across the whole region and to improve the level of service of our gravel road network," Cr Christensen said.

"To date, almost 150 kilometres of gravel re-sheeting, using 133,000 tonnes of gravel, has been completed, in addition to 150 kilometres of formation works in preparation for re-sheeting to be carried out in coming months.

"Although this year's wet season has been good news for many primary producers in our region, it has also hindered the progress of our recovery efforts."

A design contract has been awarded for the repair or replacement of 26 floodways damaged during the ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie disaster and preliminary surveys and environmental assessments are currently being carried out.

Tenders have been called for the reconstruction of damaged sections of the sealed road network, including floodways and bridge approaches, with works expected to commence in early May.

Works have already commenced on minor repairs to sealed roads and gravel re-sheeting in the region's east and north-east, following the awarding of external contracts.

Repairs to scouring and landslips at 22 sites across the region are expected to begin in May, with design works nearing completion and a contract to be awarded in April.

"A construction contract has been awarded for the replacement of Steinhardt Bridge at Darlington, with works commencing this month, and Haack Bridge at Lamington, which will be under way in April," Cr Christensen said.

"Council is continuing to carry out its normal maintenance program and deliver its large capital works program, including road upgrades to Christmas Creek and Beechmont Roads, where design work is nearing completion."

With funding from the Australian Government's Bridges Renewal Programme, Council is also replacing eight timber bridges. Four of these - Sharp Bridge, Botan Creek Bridge and Back Creek Bridge at Beechmont, and Ferguson Reserve Bridge at Allenview - will be replaced this year.

"I know that the 12 months since Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie have been a long year for many Scenic Rim residents waiting for repairs to damaged infrastructure in their area and I share their frustration," Cr Christensen said.

"However, it was vital for Council to obtain approvals under the NDRRA before proceeding with anything beyond emergency works to ensure that we had funding in place and that Scenic Rim ratepayers would not be burdened with a repair bill running into tens of millions of dollars."