06/02/2022

Update for the Resources and Energy Sector

Recent severe weather and associated flooding has caused significant disruption to transport and supply lines affecting regional and remote communities and industries across the state, especially in the Far North and Upper Spencer Gulf.

State and Commonwealth agencies are working in partnership with industry to prioritise and rapidly restore services including road, rail, telecommunications and other infrastructure damaged by these flooding events, as weather conditions enable access and engineering investigations are completed. To better inform the public on progress on restoring services, the state government has created a whole-of-government web page through sa.gov.au that links to vital information provided by various agencies.

Staged re-opening of the Stuart Highway begins

The staged re-opening of the flooded section of the Stuart Highway, at Glendambo, began at sunrise today (Sunday 6 February), initially to heavy freight and emergency service vehicles only.

Although water remains on the road, it has been declared safe for trucks to begin using the road during daylight hours, reconnecting the north-south freight link.

The highway will be opened to high-clearance four-wheel drives from Tuesday morning, and light vehicles expected by the end of the week.

Subject to water levels and road conditions, and during daylight hours only:

  • From today Sunday 6 February, essential heavy freight and emergency service vehicles can cross the flooded section one vehicle at a time, in one direction only (no two-way traffic on the flooded section) at a maximum speed of 20 km/h.
  • From Tuesday 8 February, high clearance 4WD vehicles will be permitted to cross the flooded section one vehicle at a time and in one direction only at a maximum speed of 20 km/h.

Once the road is safe for light vehicles (expected by late this week) they will be permitted to travel under restricted traffic management conditions.

After a road condition assessment conducted by mid-week, blocks of traffic may be able to proceed one direction at a time with traffic controls and restrictions as required.

The highway at Glendambo may be ready to be opened to two-way traffic from Friday 11 February under a posted, lowered maximum speed limit.

Traffic management staff will monitor traffic restrictions and queues.

Motorists in the area are advised that sections of the Stuart Highway road and shoulder have been washed away presenting hazards to road users. While repairs are being made, please drive to the conditions, be aware of workers in the area and follow all signage. Be patient and factor queues into travel timings and arrangements.

More information will be provided throughout the week. For the latest updates on road closures please visit Traffic SA.

In addition, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) also regularly updates travel advice at South Australia Flooding and Track Closure - Update - ARTC, confirming earlier timeframe estimates for restoration of services.

Given the scale of the damage caused by the severe weather events, repairs can be expected to take some time, and will be carefully prioritised. Partial opening of roads will continue to be undertaken where practical to facilitate critical movements, and support a return to normal operating conditions as repairs are completed.

While the current forecast for floodwaters receding is favourable, allowing investigations and repairs to be effected, there remains risk of further significant events impeding these actions.

Contingency plans activated by affected companies across the sector will continue to be important, and DEM will continue to work with those businesses across the sector on emerging issues.

As with efforts to manage the impact of COVID-19 on the energy and mining sectors, I can assure stakeholders every endeavour is being made by the Department for Energy and Mining working with other state and commonwealth agencies to support the minimum disruption to industry operations as possible during this challenging period.

Paul Heithersay
Chief Executive
Department for Energy and Mining

Sunday 6 February 2022

The information contained in this resources and energy industry update has been verified by the South Australian Government COVID-19 Public Information Function Support Group coordinated by SA Police.

The Department for Energy and Mining acknowledges Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of South Australia. We recognise and respect the cultural connections as the Traditional Owners and occupants of the land and waters of South Australia, and that they continue to make a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the State.