Efforts underway to clear Highway to Cairns, anticipating reopening in the next 48 hours


Jamie Jansen


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Captain Cook Highway is currently impassable due to multiple landslides.Picture: Dean Miller

Douglas Shire Police Sergeant Damian Meadows has provided Newsport with updates on the current challenges faced by the Captain Cook Highway to Cairns, expressing hopes for reopening within the next 48 hours.

Sergeant Meadows explained that the highway to Cairns is grappling with numerous large rockslides, involving smaller rocks, gravel, and some timber. 

“Clearing these obstacles requires specialised equipment, presenting logistical difficulties in their deployment,” Sergeant Meadows explained.

"While there's no definitive timeframe available for reopening, our teams are actively working on the clearance efforts. We're hopeful to have at least one lane accessible within the next 48 hours—a Christmas wish, considering the ongoing challenges," expressed Sergeant Meadows.

He further highlighted the gradual recession of the water in the Mossman River, aligning with the Bureau of Meteorology’s observations of a continuing pattern of reduced rainwater. However, Sergeant Meadows cautioned that significant rainfall is anticipated in the next 24 hours, further prolonging the recovery process.

“It’s going to be a long, drawn-out process,” Sergeant Meadows added.

Condition of Mossman Mount Molloy Road 

Sergeant Meadows reported that currently, there is one lane open to access Julatten. However, he emphasised that conditions are subject to rapid changes as crews are actively working to clear the road. 

“It's essentially a workplace with crews addressing mainly vegetation issues on the Julatten Range,” Sergeant Meadows said.

“Travelling west from Julatten through Mount Molloy to Mareeba remains challenging, with numerous road closures due to inundation, rendering it currently inaccessible.”

Situation North of the river 

Regarding the situation north of the Daintree River, Sergeant Meadows noted significant slides on Noah’s Range. 

The closure time frame is presently unknown, and there are ongoing challenges in resuming ferry operations, a process that may extend beyond a week.

Cyclone Shelters

Providing an update on the cyclone shelters in the region, Sergeant Meadows mentioned that the Mossman shelter, initially intended for evacuated personnel, is currently open. 

However, due to last night’s high tide and heavy rainfall, it too has become inundated. The Port Douglas shelter remains closed, with priority given to addressing the situation in Mossman.


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