Sydney truckie Peter Young waits it out in Coffs Harbour.
Sydney truckie Peter Young waits it out in Coffs Harbour. Leigh Jensen

Flooding cuts supply lines

THE supply chain along the eastern seaboard ground to a halt yesterday with uncertainty as to when floodwaters will dissipate enough for the road link to be restored between Sydney and Brisbane.

The transport industry expects it could take days before trucks reach the worst flood-affected parts of south-eastern Queensland.

Around 100 interstate truck drivers were said to be stranded on the Coffs Coast yesterday as the Pacific Highway remained cut at multiple spots north of Grafton.

The New England Highway was also blocked at the border. The Summerland and Orara ways remained closed, along with the Gwydir and Bruxner highways.

The only direct way into Queensland via tarred road was west through Goondiwindi.

But with sections of the Newell Highway flooded, the Roads and Traffic Authority imposed a load limit stopping vehicles over 80 tonnes from crossing to prevent damage to the saturated roadway.

As truck drivers sat idle at the northern-most extreme of the Coffs Coast, the RTA continued to advise all motorists to abandon their trips to and from Queensland.

Truck drivers last night continued to wait for instructions with their undelivered loads.

Rest areas and service stations along the Pacific Highway became semi-trailer parking lots along with local industrial estates.

“Coffs Harbour has been the end of the line for us, with the flooding around Grafton, even if the water over the road clears there’s no saying when we will get into Brisbane,” Sydney-based truck driver Peter Young said.

“I have a load of frozen goods bound for Queensland supermarkets, I’ve been told to stay here and wait and see what happens.

“No-one knows how long it will take, everyone is saying so on the two-way radio.”

Parkes-based truck driver Matt Moss had reason to watch the clock waiting for roads to clear.

“I have a semi-trailer load full of potatoes I picked up from Deniliquin waiting to get the Smiths chips factory in Brisbane,” he said.

“These spuds are usually processed into chips within 48 hours of being dug from the ground; by the time we can get through I think they’ll end up at the tip.”

Last night the flood situation continued to be closely monitored.

Interstate transport companies have told their drivers slow progress could be made north of Grafton today, but then there’s no way of knowing when road links into Brisbane will reopen.

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