Damage to the Grafton St bridge caused by floodwaters after ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie hit the east coast of Australia in March. The bridge has since been repaired but other recovery works will take until March 2019.
Damage to the Grafton St bridge caused by floodwaters after ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie hit the east coast of Australia in March. The bridge has since been repaired but other recovery works will take until March 2019. Deanna Naughten

Long wait for road recovery

SOUTHERN Downs roads damaged by March flooding are likely to take two years to completely repair.

Southern Downs Regional Council has investigated the extent of damage caused by ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie and has determined the level of damage means recovery works are likely to be ongoing until March 2019.

Council works maintenance and open space manager Chris Whitaker said council staff were nearing the end of the full assessment of damage.

"To date, we have identified approximately 300km of damaged roads,” Mr Whitaker said.

"The majority of damage is on unsealed road network in the council north-eastern region.”

As the State Government declared ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie as a natural disaster, SDRC is in a position to claim the full restoration works and be reimbursed under the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

Council CEO David Keenan said this was possible due to the stringent assessment process done by staff.

"In the past the council has sent out staff to fix the roads immediately and as a result we lost $7million,” Mr Keenan said.

"Because of the immediacy of that response, not much documentation was done and therefore the council could get no compensation from State or Federal Government provisions.

"This time we've completed a thorough assessment with pictures being taken and all the documentation is done to ensure we can get that compensation.”

Mayor Tracy Dobie said the first submissions to the Queensland Reconstruction Authority for funding under NDRRA have been made, with approvals expected within weeks.

"Council appreciates that the current state of some roads in the region may be rough as a result of the damage sustained from the ex-TC weather event and associated flooding, but we ask residents to be patient and drive to the conditions,” Cr Dobie said.

"Council crews will commence on ground restoration works as soon as the NDRRA approvals are received.”