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Bourke Council pleads for community to stay off closed roads

A Bourke Shire Council escort vehicle making its way back to Bourke across the flooded Mitchell Highway southeast of Bourke. Photo kindly provided by Kylie Fisher of Land and Life Photography

Bourke Shire Council is appealing to the community to obey the rules regarding closed roads and the use of drones as the wait continues for the floodwaters and river levels to subside.

Bourke Shire Council General Manager, Leonie Brown, said the roads remain closed because there was still water across the road surface south to Cobar, east to Brewarrina and southeast on the Mitchell Highway to Dubbo.

“There is also major damage to a culvert on the Mitchell Highway that is of particular concern,” Mrs Brown said

“The Cobar Road is closed to all traffic and the Mitchell highway is for emergency and re-supply vehicles only.

“Unfortunately, the water hasn’t receded as quickly as we would have liked, and our Roads Engineer has said the roads are not used to the saturation.

“We’ll have to take a good look at the road before Council opens the Sydney Road, because we don’t want it to fail. If the road is opened too soon and it does fail, then Bourke will be isolated.

“At the moment Bourke does not meet the re-supply criteria and council is following that up with the government.

“The reason Bourke does not qualify is because the road to the north remains open and we can get supplies through Queensland.

Council is trying to maintain the Mitchell Highway south, but to do this it means reducing the amount of traffic on the road as much traffic as possible.

“The guys out in the field are telling us it is working well with less traffic, and as frustrating as it is, it is important to continue to have as little traffic as possible.

“We have heard that people are still traveling the road and that has the potential to cause damage the road, to themselves and to their vehicles. If you don’t have a permit to use the road for emergency vehicles and re-supply, it will have other implications because it will mean you may have no insurance.

“You must apply for that permit by contacting the council office, and most are being refused. We must be strong on this - we want to prevent that road from failing so that we can still get supplies for our community.

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