Flood-damaged roads remain

Michael Traill and Shannon SmithNarrogin Observer
From top: Flooding between Borden and Gnowangerup townsites.
Camera IconFrom top: Flooding between Borden and Gnowangerup townsites. Credit: Picture: @ButterfieldBeef / Twitter, Jen Peacock; Near the 80 zone just outside Wagin on Coalfields Highway. Pictures Sherryl Chilcott; At Borden on February 10, 2017. Picture: @ButterfieldBeef / Twitter

Some roads still require repair two years on from devastating floods which left a $73.9million damage bill to the Great Southern’s road network.

This week marked two years since the February 10-12 floods which destroyed roads, bridges, livestock, farmland and infrastructure from Wagin to Ravensthorpe.

Some areas received a year’s rainfall in 48 hours after at tropical low moved across the region.

Charles Joseph Boyes and Anthony Reid were killed after their vehicles were swept into floodwaters near Ravensthorpe.

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Main Roads Great Southern regional manager Andrew Duffield said the damage bill to the region’s road network was more than $70 million, with some repair work still to be completed.

“In terms of the State road network, the total damage bill was $24.5 million and that has all been complete,” he said.

“In terms of local government there were seven local governments impacted within the Great Southern.

“The total damage for those was $49.4 million and we have processed claims to date for $42.5 million so that is 86 per cent of that value done.

“Ravensthorpe are still moving through theirs and they were the most significantly damaged and they are in the process of reconstructing the Cullum Inlet.”

Along with Ravensthorpe, Wagin was one of the worst towns affected by the flooding.

In a stark contrast to this February, the Bureau of Meteorology recorded 185.6mm of rain in Wagin from February 10 to February 12 in 2017 — causing all roads in the Shire to be closed and most streets in town to flood.

Wagin SES member Lyn Lucas said it was a mammoth effort just to get people home during the flood.

“There weren’t warnings as such that we were going to get as much rain as it actually happened,” she said.

Cresswells Emporium was one of the worst-affected businesses in the region, the floods left owners Mark and Debbie Banks with a $300,000 repair bill.

Part of their business closed for more than a year and out of their home for eight months, after being in the town for only a year.

“We got up at about seven o’clock (on the Friday) and noticed that in the toilet the water was sort of coming up a bit high,” Mr Banks said.

“It started coming through the house, we had old-fashioned jarrah floor boards and it actually came up through the floor boards and just started soaking through the place.

“At the time it was really devastating, it’s a horrible thing, fire is devastating is one thing but water and filth, it just takes so long to fix.”

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