The hinterland town of Cooroy will be facing an even bigger traffic and truck nightmare than it currently does – for the next five years.
The imminent commencement of the works on upgrading Lake Macdonald (or Six Mile) Dam will see large numbers of truck movements potentially impacting Cooroy, with main truck traffic from the site using Lake Macdonald Drive and the junction of Elm Street – a major road tributary – also Sivyers and Gumboil roads to the east, with access to Cooroy Noosa Rd.
Cooroy already copes with truck traffic from the Kin Kin Quarry, as well as from the Black Mountain landslip – and if much sought-after improvements to problem spots in the town such as the infamous Myall/Elm St railway bridge and the Elm/Diamond streets intersection were to go ahead in the same period, “Cooroy people will lose their minds”, as Noosa Councillor Tom Wegener told a council meeting on Tuesday.
Large developments such as a proposed Gemlife retirement village and a Woolworths supermarket on the edge of town, if approved, would also potentially add to the accumulated traffic mayhem.
Council was being updated on the proposed “one-in-500,000-year” upgrades to the dam, which will take place through to 2028-29 “weather permitting”, which SEQ Water will be undertaking, ostensibly to safeguard Noosa’s main water supply, even though the dam’s capacity will not increase after the work is completed.
A preliminary report was presented to council to indicate what impacts the dam may have on local roads, services and residential areas. It pointed out that Lake Macdonald Drive would be the main route for trucking materials, however the currently unsealed Kennedys Rd off Elm St could be upgraded to handle some of the traffic, as it joins Lake Macdonald Drive via the small residential Liane Drive, close to the dam site.
The dam is set to be lowered to “approximately one metre lower than in the recent dry” for the works duration, councillors were advised, and a 300-metre long, 10-metre wide coffer dam would be built in front of the current wall – ironically where the lake is deepest – to contain the water while the new dam wall was built.
Noosa’s water supply will not be affected as the treatment plant will remain open, and the supply is augmented by water from Mary River, as well as the lake being part of the Northern Pipeline Interconnector which links dams across southeast Queensland.
Provisions would be made to manage any early onslaught of a 1/500,000-year event for properties downstream from the dam while works were underway, along with a range of plans for environmental projects to ensure surrounding ecosystems remained intact.
Noosa Botanic Gardens and the adjoining Lake Macdonald Park would remain open throughout the works.
Further information is expected to be presented to councillors in the coming week.
SEQ Water has also arranged information session during February and March in Cooroy and Pomona.