Group's Inland Rail structures illustrate angst
A NUMBER of structures erected along the length of the Gore Highway where the proposed Inland Rail project crosses the Condamine floodplain are a means of bringing awareness to what the Inner Downs Inland Rail Action Group has described as an impending "catastrophe".
Group president Larry Pappin said the structures depicted the 2.5m height of the proposed rail line.
"It points out again to the wider community what the government's trying to achieve and the impacts on environment and farming and community," he said.
Landholders are worried the $10 billion Inland Rail project will end up creating a 16km dam along the length of the floodplain, with catastrophic effects.
Internal ructions in the National Party prompted former Federal Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester to expedite investigations into a design solution for the Inland Rail's crossing of the floodplain in late 2017.
Australian Rail Track Corporation, the company responsible for building the project, said it had embarked on "on a very detailed design process to demonstrate how we can respond to farmer and landowner concerns related to flooding".
But Mr Pappin said he was unconvinced the investigations would result in a floodplain crossing the community was happy with.
An ARTC spokeswoman said the company had already started ground work studies that will underpin the design solution.
"And during the next two days we are gaining more input from the local community with Condamine floodplain crossing information sessions in Millmerran and Brookstead," she said.
"There are numerous examples of rail lines crossing floodplains, making use of structures such as bridges, viaducts and culverts, and this process on the Darling Downs is about coming up with a best-fit solution for this particular floodplain."
A preliminary design solution is expected to be available for consultation in mid-2018.
Open house community information sessions on the Condamine floodplain crossing will be held between 3-7pm at the Millmerran Cultural Centre this afternoon, and 9am-1pm on Saturday, April 21, at the Brookstead Hall.