The Deputy Premier has directed the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) to use its powers under the QRA Act to stabilise and make safe the damaged Drift Restaurant structure after an independent engineering report found it posed a significant public safety risk and could collapse.
Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for the QRA Steven Miles said he was concerned by the findings of an engineering report, as the stabilisation of the structure was critical to restore the safety of not only the bikeway, but the Brisbane River.
“Most people have seen images of Drift impaled on river pilings at Milton during the unprecedented rain event,” Mr Miles said.
“The 200-tonne structure is currently preventing the community walking, bike riding and scooting safely on the bikeway.
“An independent engineering report highlighted serious safety issues and stated that ‘in its current state, the pontoon is considered to be at risk of immediate and sudden collapse’.
“The Queensland Government is concerned by the findings within this report, and I’ve directed QRA to exercise its powers under the QRA Act to work with Maritime Safety Queensland to undertake emergency stabilisation and remediation works.”
Owner Ken Allsop recently said that he wanted to refit the structure and called on the State Government or the Brisbane City Council to foot the bill for the removal of the shell of the former restaurant.
But after being left high and dry on one of the country’s busiest bikeways, the perennial eyesore has finally been given its marching orders.
Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the structure posed a risk to safety and caused an exclusion zone to be issued on the Brisbane River by the Department of Transport and Main Roads, Maritime Safety Queensland Branch (MSQ).
“The independent report recommended immediate actions to secure the site and return safe access to the waterway and bikeway,” Mr Bailey said.
“We have a duty to ensure the safety of the local community and to see essential public assets, like the bikeway and Brisbane River, restored, and hazards appropriately managed.”
It’s expected to take weeks to shift the structure, which will require the restaurant to be cut up and the use of large cranes for removal.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said that safety is the council’s first priority as the State Government works to reopen the bikeway.
“We have made the decision to convert a small section of Coronation Drive into a temporary bikeway to allow cyclists to safely travel between the western suburbs and inner city.”
From Monday March 28, traffic between Lang Parade and Graham Street will temporarily be slowed to 40 kilometres per hour, with water filled safety barriers in place.
The QRA Act came into effect on 21 February 2011 to ensure Queensland and its communities can recover from the impacts of disaster events.
The QRA Act includes powers to declare reconstruction areas and critical infrastructure projects and undertake works where it is necessary to facilitate, amongst other reasons, the protection, rebuilding and recovery of an affected community.
These powers have been exercised only once before when, following the 2011 floods, QRA was directed to undertake works, under section 96, to repair and restore the Toowoomba water pipeline which was heavily damaged during the 2011 floods.