TOO DANGEROUS: Chris Freeman captured the messy sight that was the Coombes Bridge after flooding.
TOO DANGEROUS: Chris Freeman captured the messy sight that was the Coombes Bridge after flooding.

Council responds after bridge turns to river sieve

The Condamine River rose too rapidly for Southern Downs council staff to safely make adjustments to the newly-installed Coombes Bridge, causing it to become a "giant sieve" over the weekend.

Large amounts of debris piled up against the pedestrian bridge, prompting concerns among residents such as Fiona Gray, who called it a "daft design".

"They couldn't foresee that it needed to be higher?" Ms Gray said.

"Did they intend for the bridge to be a river filter?"

But it was danger, not design, that allowed for the vast accumulation of fallen branches, according to council water manager Seren McKenzie.

"The challenge for us was we couldn't get there to drop the sides of it on this occasion," Ms McKenzie explained.

"The water came up so quickly at night and it wasn't safe for our staff to get out there."

Once conditions eased, staff dropped the sides of the bridge, where they will remain while warnings are current for the Condamine.

"It allows debris to go over instead of being caught up in there," Ms McKenzie said.

"It helps to maintain the structure of the bridge and ensure it doesn't become damaged."

Safety remains key in the timing when it comes to cleaning the river, post-flood.

"We have to wait until we can take machinery down there and reach with the mechanical arms," Ms McKenzie said.

"There's no point doing that until the water has receded."

The predominant concern among readers, however, was for how the bridge would fare during a greater flooding event.

"It's a valid concern," Ms McKenzie said.

"But we constructed the bridge in a manner where it's quite secure.

"It would take a lot of unexpected debris going down the river and something really big to hit the bridge in order to cause any damage."