Flood Water Dangers
People should avoid walking or driving through flood waters, especially if it is fast flowing and/or could be deeper than the vehicle’s floor pan. Potential hazards include fast currents, deep water and the water may hide potholes, edges of embankments, debris, washouts and changes of direction.
The combination of moving deep water is particularly risky, with the water pushing against the vehicle and trying to lift it. Some lighter or well sealed vehicles are more prone to flotation than others.
Road Restrictions for Rain
When rainfalls exceed 25mm over large areas, Council usually imposes a 3 Tonne load limit to minimise road damage and risk to the public. Light vehicles are permitted with caution to minimise inconvenience.
Emergency services vehicles and essential services vehicles (including council, electricity and telephone utilities, mail contractors and school buses) are permitted to use restricted access roads, subject to risk assessments.
During general restrictions, conditions will vary across the Shire as the rainfall intensity, quantity and duration varies. Concessions may be available on request to Infrastructure Services, for urgent transport activity on suitable routes.
Road Closures in Floods
Council rarely closes a whole road, but if it does, it is to reduce risk to travellers or to the roads.
During flooding, Council may set out signs to guide the travelling public away from or around potentially hazardous routes or to limit road damage.
A “road closed ahead” sign indicates that there is a closure somewhere ahead. Local traffic can still use the open parts of the road to access part of the area, but through traffic should follow a marked detour or seek an alternate route.
A “road closed” sign means that the road is closed from that sign and access is not permitted beyond that point. Closures are usually positioned to minimise impacts on residents.
Penalties for entering a closed road, exceeding a load limit or interfering with signs may also include the cost of repairs and the cost of recovering a stranded vehicle. Drivers should also consider the risk to themselves, their passengers and rescuers, and possible voiding of insurance cover.
During periods of significant flooding, Council provides maps of road closure sites and preferred through routes applicable to various stages of the flooding. This assists drivers who are unfamiliar with the area to plan their trips and the associated temporary signs help to guide them through the Shire. Interference with these signs puts the through travellers in particular at risk, as they may not be familiar with the roads.
Concessions to allow specific access may be available on request to Infrastructure Services, for urgent transport activity on suitable routes. This can include stock transports engaged in removing stock ahead of flood danger.