Remote River Level Monitoring and Alarming for Highway Flood Inundation – Queensland State Highway Network

Paul Hart, Graeme Jones, Chris Russell - Metasphere, and Transport and Main Roads, Brisbane, QLD , 28 April, 2017

On average 15 people die in Australia every year as a result of floods, 10 of these attempting to drive through flood water. Despite ongoing public awareness campaigns to educate the community of the dangers of driving through floodwaters, such as Queensland (QLD) Governments: “If it’s Flooded, Forget it” campaign, the number of fatalities continues to rise. Subsequently, proactive State Road agencies and Councils, including QLD Transport and Main Roads (TMR) have implemented river level monitoring and alarming to provide highway flood inundation warning lead time allowing timely road closures.

QLD TMR are currently trialling such a system for their State Highway Network using battery powered Remote Telemetry Units (RTUs) combined with a water level sensor (pressure transducer).

The remoteness of many creek and river crossings along the QLD’s State Highway network makes physical inspection of water levels and assessment of road inundation ineffective during flood events. Therefore, remote monitoring and alarming has huge potential to:

  • Save TMR time and money through remote monitoring, rather than frequent site visits;
  • Reduce health and safety risks of staff inspecting waterways and roads, and;
  • Save lives of drivers and passengers prevented from driving through the flood waters.