Repairs continue on Northern Territory’s Buntine Highway after massive flood washes away sections of road
PHOTO: The NT Department of Infrastructure’s Gordon Atkinson says recent rain events were bigger than anything seen over the past 10 years. (ABC Rural: Nathan Coates )
The clean-up is continuing after recent severe flooding across the Top End’s Victoria River District caused sections of the Buntine Highway to be washed away.
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The NT Department of Infrastructure has confirmed that whole five-metre sections of bitumen had lifted and been carried away by rushing water.
The department’s Gordon Atkinson said the rain events had been bigger than anything seen over the past 10 years.
He said it was normal for road surfaces to be ripped up by such intense events.
“The bitumen has water running over the top of it and the water gets underneath and helps to lift it as well, a bit like an aeroplane wing,” he said.
Mr Atkinson said the priority was to repair damage and make the highway operational, and that a longer road improvement would continue in the background.
“All our major repairs are finished, so the Buntine Highway is open to major traffic and there are no weight restrictions,” Mr Atkinson said.
He said the last bits of resealing required would happen soon and drivers were safely doing 100 kilometres per hour over those sections.
Mr Atkinson said the “mountains of organic debris” left on bridges had been largely cleaned up, with a large quantity of snakes and spiders keeping workers on their toes.
“Nobody got bitten,” Mr Atkinson said. “They are used to it now. They’ve got gloves on, they are using pitchforks, poles and chainsaws on long chain bars.
“They are ready to start running when the snakes appear.”
PHOTO: Organic debris left on bridges has been largely cleaned up after recent severe weather.(ABC Rural: Nathan Coates)
Water Over and Under Bitumen