Gary Little at the Darling Downs Hotel said the pub has never been flooded in its 100 years.
Gary Little at the Darling Downs Hotel said the pub has never been flooded in its 100 years. Jenna Cairney

Residents fear rising floodwater

ALMOST 12 hours had passed since Leslie Dam gates were first opened, but landholders scattered near Sandy Creek still had no idea how they would be affected.

By mid-morning yesterday, Sandy Creek Road was flooded either side of Wheatvale and as water continued to pour out of the dam, the Cunningham Highway had to be closed at the creek crossing, blocking access to Inglewood.

Ron Benz is a fourth generation Sandy Creek farmer. His family has lived in the Allan area since 1884 and have always kept detailed weather records.

Mr Benz watched last week as floodwaters from the Condamine rose within 100 or so metres of his house.

With the Condy on one side of him and Sandy Creek on the other, he knows only too well what can happen when water is released from the dam, the Condamine is full and the two rivers meet.

“That’s what happened in the ’76 floods,” he said.

“The water came up very high, but it didn’t quite get up to our house.

“That was before the dam extension though. I never thought water would make it to the house, but I’ve started thinking it might this time.”

Yesterday morning Mr Benz had received 52mm of rain and he was waiting to see how much more the Condy would bring.

Just down the road, however, at the Southern Downs Hotel, owner Gary Little was a bit more optimistic.

“The pub has never been flooded in the 100 or so years it’s been here, so I’m sure it will be fine,” he said.

Waterways in the area rose significantly throughout the day and eventually water broke over the Sandy Creek crossing on the Cunningham Highway, causing it to be closed.

Yesterday’s rainfall also caused more damage to Cunningham’s Gap, which will now be closed for periods today and tomorrow.

Council issued a list of road closures yesterday afternoon, which will be subject to change throughout today.

More problems arise as water subsides, leaving behind severely damaged surfaces.

At the O.O. Madsen Bridge in Warwick, which was completely submerged in last week’s flood, it was subject to stop and go conditions after the surface became undrivable in the left lane travelling southbound.

Up the hill, Alexandra Drive’s surface was ruined by the constant water.

The extent of damage on the roads led RACQ to issue a warning to motorists to watch out for damaged road surfaces and large potholes.

The RACQ received hundreds of calls in the past week from motorists requiring assistance for issues such as flat tyres, damaged suspension, steering problems and broken axles.

Road closures

The following roads were closed yesterday:

Cunningham Highway at Sandy Creek, Victoria St (Cox’s Bridge), Leslie Dam Road, Park Road, Pikedale Road intersection with Rocklands Rd, Glenvale Rd at Glen Rd, Leyburn Cunningham Rd, Rocky Crossing - Massie-Bony Mountain past the aerodrome, Womina-Willowvale Road, Connolly Dam Road and Lyndhurst Lane.

The Cunningham Highway at Clayton’s Gully will be closed between 7-8am, 9-10am, 11am -noon and 3-4pm today and tomorrow to allow for urgent safety works following the recent extreme weather issues.

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