Reinstating the river crossing of Scrub Creek Road to reconnect Braemore residents
Scrub Creek Road at Braemore crosses the Brisbane River north of Fulham in the Somerset Regional Council area. The crossing is 100 metres long and is easily inundated with water, even with minor flooding in the Brisbane River.
The Brisbane River is split into two branches just north of Scrub Creek Road due to the natural movement of sediment during wet seasons.
During the 2011-2013 flood events, the eastern channel crossing was damaged and replaced by a concrete bridge. The western channel needed some minor work to keep it functional and open to traffic.
Over the following years, the Brisbane River continued to dump sediment on the eastern channel and forced most of the flow through the western channel. The flood events of February 2022 and May 2022 destroyed a significant portion of the river’s concrete causeway.
This damage was unexpected as the focus was initially on the structural integrity of the culverts and the bridge as they were well overtopped. However, after the water receded, council was caught off guard when more than 10 metres of the concrete causeway washed out.
This resulted in a dozen families who live on the eastern side of the river being completely isolated. This was after they had already been isolated for several weeks. Understandably, frustration and anxiety levels for those residents was high.
In order to restore access, council investigated many alternative access routes through unformed roads and private properties, however, none of these options were considered viable due to the rough terrain and risks involved.
Council was left with no option but to try to reinstate the broken causeway to allow access for the isolated families.
Many challenges were faced due to continuous wet weather, work within the Brisbane River riparian zone, the availability of contractors and materials, and seeking permits and approvals across multiple state agencies, a process that could have taken months.
Council reached out to the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) for assistance, and after contact was made the site was inspected by a QRA representative alongside State Recovery Coordinator Major General Jake Ellwood (Retd).
With QRA support, and knowing a solution was needed quickly, council started discussions with several Queensland Government departments about the proposed emergent works to reinstate the causeway.
At the same time, Somerset Regional Council and Braemore residents were keen to improve the flow under the bridge by shifting some of the sediment from the eastern channel. This also reduced pressure on the existing culverts and remaining concrete causeway.
The QRA provided assistance throughout the entire process, aiding efforts to restore road access, remove large rocks and other debris, and shift river sediment from the channel bed to riverbanks.
Without that support, Braemore residents may well have remained isolated for several more weeks, and the impacts of that would have been felt for some time.
The project is now listed for QRA Betterment funding and is currently at design stage.
For more information on the Queensland Betterment Fund, visit www.qra.qld.gov.au/betterment