10 May 2023

TMR hits panic button as rain arrives in Cape York

| Matt Nicholls
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TRUCK companies are up in arms following a shock decision by the Department of Transport and Main Roads to put restrictions on the PDR after just a few days of December rain.

On Friday morning, no trucks were allowed to travel on the Peninsula Developmental Road without a permit.

Later that day, a ban on non-four-wheel drives was also put in place by TMR.

And despite the sun shining and the road drying, the restrictions were still in place on Monday morning.

“It’s quite ridiculous. This week, the road is going to be in the best condition it has been in for months,” Simon Tuxworth from Tuxworth and Woods said.

“If you don’t drive on it in the pouring rain, the holes fill up and it smooths out with some traffic.

“The rivers and creeks aren’t even up at the moment, so there is no safety concern.”

The risk-averse TMR has previously said it puts restrictions on the road to protect it from further damage.

However, the load limit usually doesn’t kick in so soon after the first rain of the season.

One trucking company owner, who asked not to be named, said it was likely TMR was trying to protect the approach works at the Archer.

“I think they are worried they aren’t going to hold up in the wet,” he said.

“And I don’t blame them because it doesn’t look like Decmil have done a good job.

“When they get big rain at the Archer it’s all going to fall apart.”

Mr Tuxworth said he applied for a permit to travel on the road on Monday morning and was waiting to hear back from TMR.

“It will cost us money because we do a weekly run for Woolworths in Weipa and they’ll cancel it going forward once they think the road is closed,” he said.

“The whole Cape suffers when the road closes because the cost of sea freight is more expensive and the time it takes to arrive is longer.

“There is also less capacity, so everything slows down.”


FOR motorists able to travel through Laura in the next fortnight, TMR is advising delays at Shelley’s Crossing on the northern side of town, due to repairs.

“Intermittent full bridge closures are required while crews are on-site,” the Department said in a notice.

“To facilitate through traffic, crews will allow 30-minute openings during the day.

The bridge will be shut from 7am to 5pm, with openings at 8.30am and 12.30pm.

“A flood earlier in the year caused damage to the Laura River bridge (Shelley’s Crossing) on the Peninsula Developmental Road,” a TMR spokesperson told Cape York Weekly.

“At that time, there was no indication the bridge needed urgent repairs.

“A recent inspection showed the deck had deteriorated much quicker than expected.

“Repairs are now required.

“Last month, we carried out temporary surface repairs to maintain safety for road users.

“Works to replace the deck sheets and surface are scheduled to start on December 6 and are expected to take two weeks, weather permitting.

“The second stage of works for bridge replacement will be carried out in January 2023, weather permitting.”

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