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Flood-hit Stuart Hwy tipped to open up this week

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Parts of the Stuart Highway could reopen to all traffic by the end of the week after being cut off by damage and flooding from summer storms.

 

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The critical road link, which services freight from Adelaide to Darwin, reopened to essential heavy freight and emergency service vehicles on Sunday, although in one direction only and at a maximum speed of 20km/h.

A 250km stretch of the highway between Glendambo and Coober Pedy has been impassable for more than two weeks due to 400mm deep floodwaters.

SES chief of staff Derren Halleday reported on Sunday that floodwaters had eased enough for heavy vehicle traffic to pass through between 7am to 7pm each day.

“The water down there has significantly subsided,” he told reporters.

“[There are] areas of the crest of the road that are now just 100mm underwater, certainly some islands showing up across the top there.”

Authorities plan to allow high clearance 4WD vehicles to cross in one direction at a maximum speed of 20km/h from tomorrow.

A road condition assessment will be conducted mid-week to determine whether blocks of traffic and light vehicles can travel on the road, while the highway at Glendambo “may be ready” to reopen to two-way traffic from Friday, albeit with lower speed limits.

Halleday said the freight movement means emergency air drops of supplies to cut off towns will begin to ease.

“There are ongoing flights being organised over the next couple of days but they are reducing significantly now as the transport industry is able to open up through those areas,” he said.

“We are anticipating that winding back significantly.”

Halleday also said the rail lines from SA to the Northern Territory and Western Australia which have been severed are not likely to be fixed before February 17 or 18.

In total forty-five local government areas have been affected by the state’s record summer storms, he said.

A major emergency declaration remains in place in response to the weather event.

-with AAP

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