Cut Off But In Good Spirits

Residents cut off but in good spirits

Residents and visitors in the Illinbah and Flying Fox valleys are trapped after a temporary side track at the Flying Fox Bridge bypass was washed away on 24 February.

It was the only access road into and out of the valleys.

A timber bridge had been removed and a new bridge was under construction, but heavy rainfall completely washed out one section of the bypass, leaving residents isolated.

Canungra Law

Trish Wilson of Country Mile Escape had driven across the track at 9.30am, and realised guests due to return home would not be able to get across.

“I went across in my four wheel drive and the potholes were 60 centimetres deep,” said Trish.

“I went into town to get some things, and was home about 9.30am.”

“Shortly after that the we had a deluge of rain and the causeway was gone.”

“We’ve never been in this situation, we have floods all the time, in 2016 we had landslides that covered the bridge. but we’ve always had bridges you could get across, once you wait for the water to go down.”

Trish said she has never been in a situation where guests have been unable to get in or out.

“It is a huge impact on my business.”

There are 163 properties in the area that are now isolated by the event.

Today at Flying Fox Bridge

A Council spokesperson said that reinstating a temporary side track to prove safe access for residents is a priority for work crews. 

Works are planned to commence as soon as conditions improve and it is estimated it will take two to three days to rebuild.  

Bec Croker has lived in the area for three years, with her son and husband working away she is concerned about how they will get home.

“We don’t mind being flooded in, it happens from time to time.  But being completely cut off is horrible.. I don’t know if or how they will be able to get home.”

Bec and her family are supposed to go away on holidays on Wednesday, but she is not sure whether she will be able to get out by then.

“Fortunately I keep the pantry well stocked all the time, but we will run out of bread and milk soon.”

Like several residents, Bec was upset that work on the bridge was commenced during what is known to be the wet season.

“I think it is poor planning and timing by Council with the building of that bridge during the storm season,” she said.

Alternative access routes for residents are also being investigated and Council staff are working with local agencies to identify access solutions.

Construction to upgrade the bridge commenced in November 2021 and the project was planned for completion in April 2022, weather and conditions permitting.

About Keer Moriarty 290 Articles
Editor, journo, social media manager and tea lady with Canungra Times.