Real-time barrier training ensure city is prepared during flood events

Published: 23 Aug 2016 11:36am

The City of Wagga Wagga will conduct a real-time flood management and response training exercise tomorrow.

The emergency-response scenario involves staff installing temporary steel flood barriers at the Kooringal Road end of Copland Street.

The 1.8metre high, double-strength steel barriers join together and are covered with plastic sheeting to build a 45metre long 'levee' to keep flood waters out and protect city assets and homes.

Compared to traditional flood-management methods of constructing clay or sandbag barriers, the steel barriers will significantly reduce the emergency-response time during a flood event, and clean-up after an event, and cut overall costs by about 50 per cent.

"To fill the gaps in the levee during a flood there needs to be dirt moved, sandbags filled, machinery on site and a significant amount of resources, time and money to get the job done," City of Wagga Wagga Acting General Manager Janice Summerhayes said.

"Now, with these new steel barriers and our trained team, we predict we can have a wall up and be protecting the city in about two hours, which is about a four to six hour reduction in initial preparation time."

Use of the barriers also eliminates clean up and removal of dirt from the road once the flood waters recede. The barriers are simply manually taken down and stored for reuse in any subsequent flood events.

The barriers can be installed on any surface, uneven ground and can be interfaced with other surfaces, such as walls or levees.

In total, the barriers are expected to decrease preparation and clean-up time by about three days and reduce costs by about $60,000 per flood event.

"By carrying out this real-time scenario we are ensuring staff are properly prepared and ready to go in the unfortunate case of a flood event in Wagga," Mrs Summerhayes said.

The barriers have had proven success during the Queensland floods in 2010/11 and are used in various river/channel cities in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Wagga's levee system has four gaps. Barriers have been purchased to fill gaps at Copland Street and the Sturt Highway crossing at Marshalls Creek. Gaps at the Beach Caravan Park in Johnston Street and at North Wagga Wagga will still require sandbagging.

The emergency-response scenario will close part of Copland Street, from Sutton Street to Kooringal Road, for about eight hours from 8am.

Detours will be in place for motorists down Nagle and Sutton streets. Access to businesses in the training zone will be permitted under traffic control.

Media Opportunity

What: Real-time emergency response training scenario with temporary flood barriers

When: Wednesday 24 August at 11.30am

Where: Copland Street (Sutton Street intersection)

Who: City of Wagga Wagga Acting General Manager Janice Summerhayes

MEDIA NOTE: This event is being conducted as a real-time scenario. Media will not be permitted on site outside the 11.30am media opportunity. If attending, please be on time and meet at the Sutton Street intersection on Copland Street to be escorted on site as a group for site induction and to undertake interviews and capture photos/footage. High-vis vests and closed-in shoes are required to enter the site.