Inland Rail floodplain crossing plan released

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has shown communities from Yandilla to Brookstead the preliminary design of the Inland Rail crossing of the Condamine floodplain.

The design was shared with the wider community during information sessions across the Darling Downs.

Some farmers in the region expressed concerns over the decision for the Inland Rail Project to cross the Condamine floodplain when the route was announced in 2017.

Inland Rail Project Director (North Star to Gowrie), Rob McNamara, said a comprehensive design process was being followed.

“We examined numerous design options, looking at how they would potentially impact flood levels and water behaviour at individual properties within the floodplain,” Mr McNamara said.

“Our preliminary design was selected because it minimises impacts downstream and upstream and has minimal impact on existing water flows.

“We will be presenting the preliminary design to the wider community to give them the opportunity to provide feedback. We want as much feedback as possible, and I really encourage people to come to our sessions in November, so they can understand how the Condamine floodplain crossing is taking shape.”

Mr McNamara said ARTC consultants have developed a flood model that was used to assess design options for crossing the Condamine floodplain.

“Late [2017], ARTC and the Australian Government agreed to prioritise this work and develop a solution for the crossing of the Condamine floodplain. ARTC has been working with landowners for several months on the model and draft solution. Our studies also considered areas upstream and downstream of the study area,” he said.

“A detailed flood model of the Condamine floodplain catchment area has been developed using data from different sources including Toowoomba Regional Council, the Bureau of Meteorology and government databases.

“We then undertook a program of validating the flood modelling through meeting with individual landholders on-farm to discuss historic flood events and property flood markers.

“This local input has been critical to not only understanding how the Condamine floodplain works, but giving the local community confidence in the design of the draft solution.

“A great amount of work has gone into determining the early design of the new crossing, including consultation, geotechnical, flood modelling, environmental and hydrological assessments.

“We are now gathering further input from key stakeholders and the wider community on the preliminary design. While doing this, we will undertake more work with impacted landowners to design mitigation measures, erosion controls, fencing and key infrastructure, such as road and private crossings.

“We will also continue to work on the flood model, as we absolutely understand the more the model can be validated, the greater the level of confidence people will have in the design for crossing the floodplain.

“We still have a long way to go, with around 18 months of studies and approvals before we gain any government approvals and construction begins.”

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