• The design and construction of a 4km levee bank will protect St George against the ravages of the Balonne River, which notoriously inundated parts of the town in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

file under: Asia/Pacific, Facilities, Government, Water

Fast-Track Levee Construction Protects St. George

Stakeholder-focused solution answers Queensland’s flooding crisis

St George is a rural town with a population of approximately 2,500 located on the banks of the Balonne River in south west Queensland. The town is highly prone to flooding and has been inundated by severe floods on numerous occasions, including the more recent 2012 flooding that reached heights of 13.95m at the local river gauge. This highlighted the pressing need to replace the temporary constructed emergency dumped-earth levees with an alternative engineered solution.

With the soon approaching 2013 wet season, our project team was able to fast-track the project to prevent any subsequent flood damage.  

The Balonne Shire Council commissioned CDM Smith to design and manage the construction of a levee system to protect the town from future flooding to a height of 14.5m relative to the local gauge. With the soon approaching 2013 wet season, our project team was able to fast-track the project to prevent any subsequent flood damage. 

The project involved two stages, with Stage 1 being an earthen embankment protecting the southern part of town around the Warrawee Aged Care facility. The most suitable design was to construct the embankment through the lowest point of the town and, in some instances, form part of residents’ backyards. Our levee design and construction experts undertook a detailed foundation investigation and identified potential local material sourced from the opposite side of the river. The 3m-high flood levee allows council vehicles to drive along the top of the levee for maintenance, but will eventually form part of the natural landscape.

Stage 2 of the levee was designed as a concrete masonry wall and extends along St George’s Terrace, which is located on the river front, as well as along some residents’ property boundaries. The wall is designed to appear to the public as a general property boundary wall or fence, with powder-coated pool fence installed on top of the concrete levee to make the flooding solution more visually appealing.

Community engagement and consultation was a primary focus throughout the project life cycle. Balonne Shire Council and CDM Smith conducted ongoing community and resident meetings to engage with the public and develop a rapport that would see Council, CDM Smith and the appointed construction contractor move forward with the support of the community. Successfully fast-tracking such a significant community and State project so that the levee system was constructed and functional prior to the wet season is credit to the efficient communication and cooperation between our client, all project personnel, and most importantly, the community.

Read the news release celebrating the official opening ceremony of the project >>