Cloncurry Council defends state of Mount Isa –Duchess Road

HARD ROAD: Bill Johnston says the Cloncurry section of the Isa-Duchess Rd has been unmaintained for two years.
HARD ROAD: Bill Johnston says the Cloncurry section of the Isa-Duchess Rd has been unmaintained for two years.

Duchess publican Bill Johnston says the people of Duchess and surrounding communities are the “forgotten people” of Cloncurry Shire.

Mr Johnston said the constant corrugations on the Duchess – Mount Isa Rd is making the route undriveable.

“I’m also the local postman so I’ve got to do the mail run and the road is wrecking our gear,” Mr Johnston said.

Mr Johnston, who ran for Council in 2016, said Cloncurry Shire Council had done no maintenance on the road for two years.

“Now they say they are going to work on it in October,” he said.

“But if we get a wet season next year it’ll be as bad as it was before.”

Cloncurry Shire Council said that in February 2017, many roads within Cloncurry Shire including Duchess Mount Isa Road suffered damage as a result of a Gulf Tropical Low.

Cloncurry Shire Council’s Director of Works and Environmental Services Brendan Pearce said this event was declared a Natural disaster and Council submitted a claim for relief and recovery funding through the Queensland Reconstruction Authority

The total value of this claim was around $15m approved in September 2017.

“Council tendered the work out to local contractors in December 2017 and January 2018 and works commenced on a numerous roads throughout the Shire in early 2018,” Mr Pearce said.

“Contractors are still completing road restoration works on shire roads in the south as a result of this event.”

Duchess publican Bill Johnston says they are the "forgotten people" of Cloncurry shire.

Duchess publican Bill Johnston says they are the "forgotten people" of Cloncurry shire.

Mr Pearce said that in March 2018 – before road restoration works had commenced on Duchess Mount Isa Road - another rain event impacted Cloncurry Shire resulting in further damage to numerous roads.

“Council submitted a further claim for funding from QRA and this was approved in July 2018 with a value in the order of $10M. In September 2018 Council once again awarded further tenders to local contractors to undertake this approved package of works,” he said.

“As part of this process a tender was recently awarded to T’s Contracting to undertake major flood restoration works for the full length of this road. The contractor is currently undertaking initial works to some of the floodway crossings and will be mobilising additional plant and equipment to the site in the near future. The value of the contract is approx. $824,000.”

Mr Pearce said the works may or may not be impacted by future wet season events.

“However as we saw with last year the wet weather came really late,” he said.

“It is Council’s intention to restore the roads to their pre-event condition as quickly as possible following an event within the funding guidelines as set by the QRA.”

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