Businesses hanging by a thread for road upgrade

Lamington National Park Road has signs and bollards placed along certain areas. Photo: Jocelyn Garcia
Lamington National Park Road has signs and bollards placed along certain areas. Photo: Jocelyn Garcia

ALMOST a year after ex-Cyclone Debbie hit the Scenic Rim works are finally under way to repair the wrecked Lamington National Park Road.

A total of 76 landslides occurred on the road and the damage, combined with impacts to the nearby Gold-Coast Springbrook Road, devastated local businesses.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said works to restore full access for people living, working and visiting local towns and national parks in the area would continue.

“These reconstruction projects follow temporary repairs carried out immediately after the cyclone,” Mr Bailey said.

“Significant work has already taken place across the region to repair damage following severe tropical Cyclone Debbie.

“Work at three critical landslip sites on Lamingtonal National Park Road and the main landslip site on Tomewin Mountain Road will be completed later this month.”

The damage to Lamington National Park Road has been a big blow to businesses dealing with road closures and vehicle restrictions for almost a year.

Mountview Alpaca Farm co-owner Jenny Pack said she could not return to the farm from her Canungra home for five days after experiencing three days of torrential rain.

“The farm’s address was 2503 which means it is 25.03km from town,” she said.

“There were about 76 landslides on the road and two major ones were on the 12 and 20 kilometre marks.

As a result of the ongoing load restrictions and road work closures, Ms Pack said the lack of tourism forced her to seek a new location for the farm to continue to make a living.

Residents and Scenic Rim MP Jon Krause on Lamington National Park Road.

Residents and Scenic Rim MP Jon Krause on Lamington National Park Road.

O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat manager Shane O’Reilly said the business was also missing out on tourism.

“It’s been very tough and restricted for businesses and staff members who use or are located on the road,” he said.

“The road is still closed at night and disruption during the day continues.

“Unfortunately there’s still a weight limit so no buses and not even a small truck can get up the mountain.”

Mr O’Reilly said most tourism business had been put on hold, with the retreat having to cancel tours and buses to the national park.

“We had 160 people booked to come for lunch on Monday and now we’ll have no one because of the vehicle limit and it’s just too costly to bring 24 acceptable buses up,” he said.

“We have lost $8000 which is quite significant and this is the type of event that pays our staff wages for the week.”

Mr O’Reilly said despite the good news that the road was being fixed, he was worried there was no guarantee that restrictions would be lifted and construction would be complete in time.

“The end result will be great because some of the areas they’re fixing has been damaged long before the floods and are overdue for a repair,” he said.

“But we’re not like Springbrook where there’s two access points. We only have one way up and down since Duck Creek Road closed and the economic damage to businesses is quite devastating.”

Work on the road is scheduled to be complete by December, weather permitting.

Mr Bailey urged motorists to drive to the road conditions and to pay attention at work sites.