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Hospital, ferry and roads reopen in Riverland

The Renmark hospital, a major Riverland road and the Lyrup ferry have reopened from today as floodwaters recede throughout the region.

Jan 25, 2023, updated Jan 25, 2023
Floodwaters at Renmark on Saturday. Photo: Jason Katsaras/InDaily

Floodwaters at Renmark on Saturday. Photo: Jason Katsaras/InDaily

The Renmark Paringa Hospital restored full services today with patients now able to access acute inpatient care following its flood response which saw admissions suspended on December 5 last year.

Aged care residents who were relocated to other Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network sites from December 6 have also returned to the hospital.

Minister for Health Chris Picton said all Renmark Paringa Hospital residents have now been returned to their usual rooms.

Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network CEO, Wayne Champion said the “health, safety, wellbeing and comfort of the aged care residents was maintained at all times”.

“I wish to take this opportunity to thank our residents and their families for their understanding and cooperation during this time, and Renmark Paringa District Hospital staff for going above and beyond,” Champion said.

Earthworks at the Renmark Hospital Levee in November. Picture: Jason Katsaras/InDaily

It comes as the Department for Infrastructure and Transport announced plans to reopen ferries and roads affected by flooding as River Murray floodwaters continue to subside.

Kingston Road at Moorook has reopened to light vehicles from 7am today, while the Lyrup Ferry will resume operations from midday.

The department said maintenance teams are working to perform crucial assessments on the remaining closed roads “to determine the extent of damage and the repairs required before the road can be safely reopened”.

“These assessments can only be completed once the water has sufficiently receded and is no longer over the road, enabling any debris and mud to be cleaned off the road,” the department said read.

“Cleaning of mud and debris may take up to two weeks depending on the extent of inundation and the length of road.

“Once the road is clear, maintenance teams will inspect the road for visible signs of damage.

“If there is no visible damage to the road, the strength of the road surface will be tested to determine the volume and type of traffic that can safely use the road. This may mean that a road is opened in stages – possibly only to local residents and emergency vehicles initially, before being opened to all light vehicles and later to heavy vehicles if the surface remains stable and safe after being driven on.”

Due to numerous roads being underwater since December, the Department said it’s anticipating that “significant” repairs will be necessary on a number of roads in flood-affected regions including repairs to potholes or complete rebuilds where sections have been washed out.

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“Minor repairs may take approximately two weeks to be completed, while major repairs may involve many months of work before the road is safe to reopen due to the damage caused by this significant natural disaster,” the Department said.

“Road users are reminded to take extra care around road workers and other motorists, with traffic management staff and SA Police continuing to monitor restrictions and closures.”

“Roads that have been reopened may still be drying out and have soft or slippery areas.”

Bookpurnong Road at Loxton/Berri, the Goyder Highway, Hunter Road at Mannum and Angus Valley Road at Walker Flat have all sustained various levels of damage with department crews working to have them reopened once works are carried out.

Eight of the Department’s 12 ferries on the River Murray remain closed.

The Department said it is closely monitoring water levels at each ferry location and is endeavouring to reopen ferry services as it becomes safe to do so.

Marine Services are conducting daily inspections and performing thorough inspections of equipment (such as cables, anchor points and infrastructure), to ensure they are fit for purpose and can be activated as soon as water levels drop to operable levels.

Major repairs to ferry infrastructure affected by high flows and flooding are not expected.

Based on current predictions, Morgan, Swan Reach, Walker Flat, Purnong and Mannum (downstream) ferries are all anticipated to recommence services by mid-February.

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