Roads and train lines buckle during SA’s possible once-in-200-year deluge

With some parts of South Australia receiving 200 mm of rain in 24 hours, floodwaters have ripped away chunks of the Stuart Highway north of Adelaide, including near Pimba.

This small settlement is 480 kilometres north of Adelaide and is at the turnoff to Roxby Downs, Woomera and other settlements.

Images taken near Spud’s Roadhouse at Pimba show the hidden dangers of driving through floodwaters.

As of Monday, the road between Glendambo and Coober Pedy was still submerged and, even after floodwaters subside, it won’t re-open until it has passed safety assessments.

Some truck drivers on their way from Adelaide to Darwin are choosing to wait at Glendambo for the floodwaters to subside.

Others drove urgent grocery deliveries the long way around to Darwin, an extra 3,000 km via Broken Hill, Cobar and Queensland.

The flooding has cut food supply lines to the Northern Territory, Western Australia, and South Australia’s remote north.

On Monday, Coober Pedy and outlying areas received 20 tonnes of non-perishable food, which had to be airlifted in by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) planes.

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This was because the freak rain event also wreaked havoc on the train track between Adelaide and Tarcoola, which is where the track diverges to Darwin and Perth.

“Eighteen sites stretching over 300 km have been affected by the flooding incident, with most having now been assessed by engineering and project staff,” said an Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) spokesperson on Monday.

One small section of the track remains inaccessible.

ARTC expects the track to remain closed until at least February 12, with repairs hampered by difficulties in transporting equipment to Tarcoola.

The South Australian government declared a 14-day state of emergency on Friday, which gives the state’s Police Commissioner, Grant Stevens, authority over freight, food security and relief efforts.

With the rain set to continue in South Australia, Premier Steven Marshall called on people to cancel unnecessary travel to the north.

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