Bill Valentine was rescued by the Capricorn rescue helicopter after his car was caught in flash flooding on the Capricorn Highway near Stanwell west of Rockhampton as ex-cyclone Oswald swept down through Queensland. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Bill Valentine was rescued by the Capricorn rescue helicopter after his car was caught in flash flooding on the Capricorn Highway near Stanwell west of Rockhampton as ex-cyclone Oswald swept down through Queensland. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

Life begins to return to normal in Stanwell after flooding

THE tiny Central Queensland town of Stanwell, 26km west of Rockhampton, is beginning to see things return to normal after flash floods devastated the community on January 25.

Though Cr Ellen Smith said some houses needed major structural work before they were habitable.

Insurance inspections were holding up the clean-up process in some houses and Cr Smith said a few properties still had not had power since the deluge.

"People were very distraught, but they've been overwhelmed by the amount of assistance they've had.

"The Rural Fire Service has been absolutely wonderful … they've come from everywhere," she said.

"It was like a disaster zone but now it's almost like normal … hopefully we'll never see anything like that ever happen again."

Baralaba man Bill Valentine was heading home when the "water just came down in a big hurry" near Kalapa. Two cars in front of Mr Valentine were washed off the road and eight people needed to be rescued by the RACQ Capricorn Rescue Helicopter.

"They were up to their necks in water and then they were washed off.

 

"The railway line acted like a bank. It needs culverts through it," he said.

Department of Transport and Main Roads regional manager Terry Hill said access had been re-established for Stanwell residents.

"We're working to continue establishing access for heavier traffic. There's no trucks in or out at this stage," he said.

"Our biggest challenge is Neerkol Creek, about three kilometres east of Stanwell.

"We're working 24 hours to get a direct route through but the flash floods washed out the approach to the bridge on both sides.

"Everyone travelling west of Rocky is affected in one way or another at this stage."

 

Currently traffic heading west needs to drive through Mt Morgan until an alternate route is established in the next day or two.

 

The Capricorn Hwy from Yeppen to Gracemere is expected to reopen today.

"It was pretty much as we expected," Mr Hill said.



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