“Central Queensland remains open for business.”
That’s the message from Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry, who delivered the Yeppen South floodplain bridge in 2015.
The bridge means that for the first time in Rockhampton’s recent history, the city won’t be isolated by major flooding on the Fitzroy River.
“This bridge is already proving to be a game changer for our region,” Ms Landry said.
“This flood will clearly have a major impact on our region. But this time, we won’t run out of fuel. We won’t run short of fresh food. Shops are being fully supplied, and travellers can still fly into Rockhampton via Gladstone.
“It was only in 2013 that the highway was cut at the Yeppen floodplain for nearly two weeks, causing millions of dollars of economic loss to our economy.
“With this new bridge, access to Rockhampton is assured throughout this flood event.
“Yeppen Bridge is currently open to four lanes. When the flood rises, this will be reduced to one in each direction, ensuring a smooth flow of traffic in and out of Rockhampton.”
Mary Carroll from Central Queensland’s economic development group Capricorn Enterprise says the new bridge is passing its first big test.
“This bridge marks a turning point for Central Queensland. We are avoiding losses of nearly $5.5 million per day in Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast alone,” Ms Carroll said.
“The 2011 flood basically cut Queensland in half so the economic impact was devastating, but this time traffic can continue to flow through the city.
“Whilst 215 businesses will be directly affected by this flood, over 6,000 businesses in the region will not.
“The region is still open by air via Gladstone Airport, which is less than an hour-and-a-half away. That’s shorter than driving from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane Airport, which hundreds of travellers do every day.
“Qantas and Virgin are putting on extra flights through Gladstone, and Budget Car Rentals are offering special one-way car hire rates to accommodate.
“It’s vital that ahead of the Easter Break, the public knows that we are open for business.
“The best thing you can do to support Central Queensland is to holiday in our region, and support our local tourism sector.”