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Eton Range Realignment - Project newsletter August 2017 - Cyclone Debbie repair works

Eton Range Realignment Project sustained significant damage during Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie in March 2017. Heavy rainfall associated with the cyclone caused a total of 19 landslips across the range, including two major slips which closed the range to single lane operation from March until July 2017. 

Debris spread across the Eton Range after Cyclone Debbie
Debris spread across the Eton Range after Cyclone Debbie

Repair process

Extensive geotechnical investigations were undertaken to assess all 19 landslips for the safety of the travelling public and enable construction machinery to safely complete repairs. 

In repairing two major slips below the existing Peak Downs Highway, it was initially thought that temporary soil nails would be required to stabilise the existing roadway. Through further geotechnical assessments and monitoring, this lengthy treatment was avoided and an embankment solution was used instead to reinstate the road shoulder and open the range back to two-way operation.

Progress of repair works in June to one of the major slips impacting traffic
Progress of repair works in June to one of the major slips impacting traffic

In working towards reinstating the range to two-way operation, the following repair activities were completed:

  • Removal of debris on the Peak Downs Highway from the upper landslips
  • Road surface repairs
  • Excavation of loose material and debris from landslips below the Peak Downs Highway (within the reinforced earth embankment works)
  • Reinstatement of construction access tracks 
  • Installation of temporary shotcreting and rock fall netting for some landslip locations below the existing road for safety of construction plant working below
  • Reinstatement of the existing road shoulder and supporting embankment of the Peak Downs Highway.

Following the completion of the above works, the Eton Range was reinstated to two-way operation in late July, and the restrictions for over size over mass vehicles reverted back to the conditions in place before the cyclone. For up-to-date information on restrictions, please check the TMR Conditions of Operation Database.


Ongoing repairs to the newly completed construction works are being assessed and will be funded under project insurance. Other works outside of the project scope will be submitted for assessment under Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements guidelines. These additional works include reinstatement of the road formation and banks next to the Peak Downs Highway and Cut Creek. Eligible reconstruction works will be jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland Government under the NDRRA.

For more information about the Eton Range Realignment project visit the TMR website or contact the Mackay office on 4951 8555 or Please note: emails and phone calls will not be monitored outside of office hours (8am to 5pm Monday to Friday).


Department of Transport and Main Roads



8 August 2017