The Gracemere Industrial Area largely escaped any damage from the heavy rainfall and flooding caused by ex-cyclone Oswald as it passed over Central Queensland between the 23rd and 28th of January. During this time rainfall of 770 mm (nearly 31 inches) was recorded in the vicinity of the Gracemere Saleyards. Heavy rains continued from Wednesday through to early Saturday, and the catchment area around the Kabra foothills saw some inundation.
It has only been four days since the rainfall stopped and already there is very little evidence of the heavy rainfall we experienced in the GIA. Unfortunately, many other communities in Queensland have not been so lucky.
The water funnelled through the Gracemere Creek, which runs through part of the GIA. This time Gracemere Creek backed up higher than usual where it crosses Middle Road, due to recent infill which narrowed the creek just downstream. Luckily, it caused no problems to any other parts of the GIA.
While the creek crossing at Macquarie and Capricorn Streets cut off access from Gracemere township itself, access to the Capricorn Highway remained open at all times.
There was a small section of localised flooding on the corner of Capricorn and Foster Street but this went down rapidly and there was a little surface water on the concrete apron of one businesses yard. Otherwise it certainly was business as usual for the balance of the businesses in the GIA. As a transport hub, the trucks and b-doubles have been busy in and out of the GIA though the entire week. The Caltex Service Station has continued supplying diesel at its unmanned service station on the corner of Macquarie Street and Somerset Road. Flood clean up around the Rockhampton region and road and rail reconstruction work will see many GIA businesses kept busy for a considerable period of 2013.
The new section of Somerset Road fared well as far as the CMC boundary where the link to Somerset Road has been commenced. Owners of blocks in the Gateway Estate would feel confident with their purchases as the blocks and roads stood high and dry.
All things considered, this could be seen to be an important test for the area under extremely heavy rainfall conditions. Some water problems to the northern side of the Capricorn Highway around the Malchi exit of the overpass have been highlighted because of this deluge and it probably will serve to bring about further drainage improvements before the overpass is opened.
Due to rail line damage further west on the Blackwater line and on the southern line to Gladstone, coal trains remain idle.
At this stage it is not known if the planned opening of the Overpass during the second week of March will be delayed. Obviously Rockhampton will be isolated from the south until the Fitzroy River peaks and roads to the south open again.
The great feature of the GIA is that it is accessible from the south even if Rockhampton is cut off at the Yeppen. Road access is still available from the Burnett Highway across to Gracemere. However, in this huge rain event which travelled south for the length of the Queensland coast and adjacent areas inland, road closures to the Bruce Highway in southern parts of the State will bring some transport to a stop until roads re-open.
Gladstone is a vital delivery port and of key importance to the resources sector in Queensland’s west. With 65% of the 750 employees in the GIA being involved in the resources sector, the fact that heavy transport can link from Gladstone to the GIA is pivotal to delivery out west to the Mines for fuel, explosives, and all goods used in mining.
The GIA has shown to be able to hold its own over the past week of record rainfalls, but we hope such extreme weather does not happen again.