BOSS AT WORK: The mighty 'Mud Boss' clears out the Weir Bridge drain-ways.
BOSS AT WORK: The mighty 'Mud Boss' clears out the Weir Bridge drain-ways. Michael Grassick

Mechanical monster clears Condamine waterways

A FLOATING behemoth sat on the bank of the Condamine River near the Weir Bridge after finishing up a collaborative project between the council and the river trust to clear out debris.

The Condamine River Trust hired the one of a kind floating excavator to deal with the mess while the council hired trucks to take it away in an operation estimated to cost around $67,000.

"You must have it clear because if debris is blocking the drain-ways when a flood hits the water is going to come onto the road,” Ron Horner, business manager of the floating excavators said.

Among the debris pulled from the river was 6 shopping trolleys, a car trailer, a garden shed, and a 44 gallon barrel of diesel fuel which was still partially full.

The floating excavator itself is owned and operated by driver Andy Haggarty, has a 16m long arm attached to an amphibious tank-like undercarriage allowing it to drive within waters 1.5m deep, and with the assistance of pontoons, 5m.

It has been taken nationwide for projects in desert salt-water lakes, to the new submarine bases in South Australia.

While there are 7 floating excavators operating nationally, the aptly named 'Mud Boss' is one of the biggest and is able to drive up to 500m off-shore.

"Mud Boss was good for the job because of its big reach and easy transportability,” Mr Haggarty said.

Councillor Rod Kelly was pleased with the operation, saying before the excavation you could virtually 'walk across' the heavily polluted river.

The clearing of the Weir Bridge drain-ways has come at an important time as the council prepares to install a new bridge by the end of the financial year which will make it safer for both cars and pedestrians to cross.