Crossing is back in action after 2011 floods
FARMERS and residents living south-west of Clifton will have reduced fuel bills after Toowoomba Regional Council completed work to the Dungannon Rd crossing over Spring Creek recently, at a cost of $300,000.
The crossing was washed away in the January 2011 floods, and local primary producers have had to travel the "long way around", to get to their farming country on the fertile black soil flats on the other side ever since.
Following the floods, neighbours who once lived two minutes from one another, had to travel 20 minutes for a friendly cuppa and a catch up, for close to two years.
It has taken us a long time but there was a massive amount of damage done and a massive amount of work required.
One local who has had to travel a 35km "round trip" just to get from his home to his farming country is Allan Erhardt, who normally only had to travel 8km to work his land.
"I have 121 hectares of country on the flat, and when the crossing was out for the last 22 months, I had to travel 17km just to get to it," he said.
"The diesel bill will be greatly reduced now."
Another Clifton farmer who did it tough after the crossing was destroyed in the devastating floods was Terry O'Halloran.
Of Mr O'Halloran's 110ha, his most fertile 25ha were "across the creek" and he had to travel through the town of Clifton to access his country.
"It was a 16 km journey (one way), just to turn the irrigation pump off on the northern side of the creek, and I had to do that twice a day sometimes," he said.
What normally took him a couple of minutes and a half a kilometre of travelling time became a major inconvenience.
"It's great now the crossing has been re-built, as it will mean less miles, and I will have an all-weather road to access a fair bit of the property.
"The contractors, FK Gardner and Sons, did a good job and were very obliging, as my home is right on the creek near the crossing," Mr O'Halloran said.
"At one stage during the six-week job, they had a diesel engine running 24 hours a day to keep the water away, and they were concerned that the noise was disturbing us," he said.
Mr O'Halloran said the re-opening of the crossing was great for people of the district.
"There has been a lot traffic through since it re-opened," he said.
Toowoomba councillor Anne Glasheen said the council was happy to have finally completed the work on the Dungannon Rd crossing.
"Yes it has taken us a long time but there was a massive amount of damage done and a massive amount of work required," Cr Glasheen said.
"Works included the removal and replacement of the culvert, debris and silt removal and extensive concrete work."
Dungannon Rd is the first of the major crossings affected in the Clifton region by the January 2011 floods to be re-opened.
Cr Glasheen said other crossings still to be repaired included those on Willow Springs Road, Venz Rd, and a crossing at the top of the Pilton Valley.
The work is being undertaken by the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) flood recovery program, which is funded 75% by the federal government and 25% by the state.