Floods will continue to close new highway

VICROADS has conceded that the Cox’s Bridge flood proofing project will not be able to withstand a flood similar to the one experienced recently.

Flood waters encroaching on the flood mitigation project saw the South Gippsland Highway closed between Sale and Longford for a week, with motorists forced to take a 54km detour through Rosedale.

VicRoads Regional Director Eastern Region Sebastian Motta said the recent flood exceeded the one in 20 year scale that sections of the project were designed to withstand.

At the Sale end, the ‘raising’ of the road relative to the existing highway will begin near Punt Lane and the new road will be, on average, 1.5 metres higher than the existing section of road between the two bridges.

“The new road will be able to withstand 1-in-20 year scale flooding, and the new bridge structures have been built to accommodate a 1-in-100 year event,” Mr Motta said.

“The major flood event experienced this month significantly exceeded the 1-in-20 scale.”

Bridge works have recommenced, with night time closures being implemented between 11pm and 6am to fast track the project.

Surface damage was found on some sections of the new road that will need to be repaired, however Mr Motta said repairs can only be carried out in warmer and drier conditions.