Rail trail swamped as floodwaters spread

ANYONE planning to ride the rail trail from Warrnambool to Koroit and Port Fairy in the past few days might want to bring along some sort of  boat for the crossing between Levys Point and Dennington.

Sarge and Chilli the dogs flank Teagan Lane from Rundell’s Mahogony Trail Rides as she guides Bucko across a flooded section of the rail trail at Kelly Swamp.
 140804LP50 Picture: LEANNE PICKETT

Sarge and Chilli the dogs flank Teagan Lane from Rundell’s Mahogony Trail Rides as she guides Bucko across a flooded section of the rail trail at Kelly Swamp. 140804LP50 Picture: LEANNE PICKETT

The causeway crossing was buried under vast stretches of water between the Merri River and Rutledges Cutting south of Tower Hill, which only began to subside a little yesterday.

Parks Victoria will attempt to open the Cutting mouth this morning after an unsuccessful attempt earlier. Local resident Sandra Wilson, who operates Rundell’s Mahogany Trail Rides, said yesterday the flood level was at its highest for at least 10 years.

“We noticed it rising Saturday and by Sunday it was up very high,” Ms Wilson said. “The level won’t go down until the Cutting mouth opens.” 

Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority decided last week the Cutting should be opened after assessing the risk of flooding of the Saltwater and Kelly swamps to agricultural land and environment assets.

“The CMA (through Parks Victoria) will artificially open the mouth when weather, sea and tidal conditions allow it to be done safely for machine operators,” a spokeswoman said.

“That is, when sea conditions allow water to drain from the swamps and swell and tides do not push more seawater into the systems.”

Bureau of Meteorology readings at Warrnambool airport show 88 millimetres of rain for July and 25mm so far this month with the highest fall of 18mm last Friday.

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