Cunningham Highway: The extent of fire devastation
FIRES may be under control at Cunninghams Gap, but the highway now faces a new ongoing issue which could be critical for motorists.
While the Cunningham Highway at Cunninghams Gap is still a no-go zone for motorists, the Department of Transport and Main Roads Queensland now faces a new issue of ensuring the roads are safe before they are reopened.
Transport and Main Roads Queensland crews will be kept busy, ensuring the slopes beside the road are stable, signs repaired and fallen trees are removed.
However, First Officer of Sugarloaf and Treasurer of Stanthorpe Combined Group James Massey, said the busy highway might face a new issue.
"The biggest problem dates right back to 2011 - because of the heavy rain at the time, it dislodged a lot of rocks and therefore the rocks came tumbling down onto the road.
"Now because of the fire burning old trees, they pull up the stumps and the root system as they fall which dislodges the rocks causing the landslides down onto the highway.
"This is an ongoing thing because the ground is unstable now," Mr Massey said.
The temporarily fix is to clear trees and rocks from the road.
However, it is just a matter of time until this situation occurs again.
"The biggest concern of all is that when it does rain we are going to have the same situation again.
"The ground will become incredibly unstable because of heavy rain which will dislodge a whole heap of things that are precarious even now.
"The things that are precarious now will get dislodged once it rains," he said.
At this stage the Cunningham Highway will remain closed until further notice.
"This is an ongoing thing, it's not going to be something that it is just going to stop because the fires have stopped.
"I don't honestly know when they expect to open it," Mr Massey said.
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