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New Forest Hill rail bridge to help flood mitigation

The new Black's Bridge at Forest Hill will help clear floodwaters but also makes it easier to move large volumes of coal.
The new Black's Bridge at Forest Hill will help clear floodwaters but also makes it easier to move large volumes of coal. Derek Barry

FOREST Hill has a new Black's Bridge over the railway line after major work was carried out in the weekend of the Laidley Spring Festival.

The bridge, about 500m west of the town was in serious need of replacement to cope with heavier train loads and some are also hoping it will help with Forest Hill's flood mitigation.

The new concrete bridge replaced the existing timber bridge in Forest Hill and is 45 metres in length, which almost doubles the length of the existing 23 metre bridge.  

A Queensland Rail spokesperson said they began construction on a new concrete bridge in June.
 
 "Queensland Rail has carried out flood modelling works in conjunction with the proposed flood mitigation works being considered by the Lockyer Valley Regional Council," the spokesperson said.
 
"This bridge option was developed to improve the flood mitigation works being proposed by Lockyer Valley Regional Council for Forest Hill.

"Queensland Rail is committed to making improvements to its infrastructure to assist regional communities."
 
Lockyer Valley Regional Council mayor Steve Jones welcomed the new bridge but questioned Queensland Rail's motivation in replacing the bridge.

"QR came to a meeting we had in Forest Hill and told us they were expanding the bridge for flood purposes," Cr Jones said.

'We've since found out that wasn't the case."

Cr Jones said that while the new bridge would help during floods but that wasn't the reason for it.

"It upgrades the strength of the bridge and most of the movements on the line are for coal," he said.

"It is anticipated there will be an approval of Acland Stage 3 which while I can't tell you the exact figures could take the load from four million to ten million tonnes."

Cr Jones admitted there was an offshoot benefit for Forest Hill in moving the water quickly away from town.

"The problem for us is that we have now got to get the drainage on the northern side able to take that extra water," he said.

"If it is made wider and there is nowhere for the water to go, then the problem is still there."

Cr Jones said they had applied to the State Government for $1 million already assigned to Forest Hill to get the drainage around the railway line cleaned out.

Forest Hill and surrounding district was badly inundated during the Australia Day 2013 flood event.
 

Topics:  flood mitigation, forest hill, lockyer valley regional council, queensland rail


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