What if a track is closed while you are on it ?

Submitted: Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 at 10:36
ThreadID: 135585 Views:5646 Replies:7 FollowUps:8
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A recent thread prompted me to finally ask about this.

We've all been told to never drive on a track that is closed. Easy enough to obey this rule, if it is closed when you get to it. But what if its closed while you are already on it?

On 7 June 2008, I was in Lyndhurst and preparing to start up the Strzelecki Track. There had been a little rain in the area for 1-2 days. But not enough to close anything. The Strzelecki Track sign indicated everything was open. So I headed out and drove until around sunset. I don't have an exact location but I made it well past the dog fence. Parked the bushcamper for the night just off the track.

It rained quite a lot overnight, and was rainy in the morning. I wasn't sure what to do, so I took out the sat phone and called ahead to Innamincka. They advised I drive back to Lyndhurst. The track was, of course, now officially closed. But they stated that it would not be illegal for me to drive on it since it was open when I started.

This made sense to me. The alternative would have been to stay where I was (which was probably not a strictly legal campsite :) ). But how many days might I have to sit there until the track dried out and reopened ?

I'm not sure how much rain fell on the Strzelecki Track during the next few days. But after returning to Lyndhurst, I continued south to FRNP and it rained there on 9 June. Ultimately I travelled all the way to Kangaroo Island (11-13 June), where I got more rain.

In light of that, I certainly felt I had made the right choice by leaving the track! Though unfortunately I did make a bit of a mess (see pic below). And it was not a fun drive on that slippery track, in fact it was downright scary at times. I don't remember my speed but I know it took a few hours to reach Lyndhurst.

If you are already out on a track and then it is closed due to rain, what do you think is the proper course of action? Perhaps soon I will try calling the 1300 number to see what they tell me. :)

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Reply By: Zippo - Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 at 11:34

Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 at 11:34
On a previous trip I had occasion to ring DPTI and ask that very question.

There reply was:
(a) you commit no offence; and
(b) you should make your way expeditiously off the closed road by the most appropriate route (I figure that means shortest, as they won't know which way is worse).

Whether that remains their advice I don't know, but it does make sense.
AnswerID: 613712

Reply By: RMD - Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 at 13:24

Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 at 13:24
Last year I was in the same situation after leaving William creek it rained back there and we stayed at Algebuckina bridge for the night. Was similar in track conditions. Next day, A ute from Oodnadatta came through and they said they travelled as soon as the track was open again. The track to Oodna was far worse than your pictures, but open. Can't see how.
At Oodna, and with threat of more rain, we looked around and left for Marla with track open. Road had been chewed and unless you kept momentum the mud was very thick, your picture is a highway by comparison. Towing a Tvan arrived at Marla and noticed the track was still open. It should have been closed and the vehicles entering, not those already on it, made things worse, made it very boggy and mud holes deep in many places. Basically to clear the track and get off it, I have never slid sideways so much, so often for so far. I didn't want to be "parked" for a week either.
AnswerID: 613715

Follow Up By: ChrisVal7 - Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 at 21:41

Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 at 21:41
Last August we were in this exact position. Camped at Algebuckina and it started raining, lightly. We headed South, hoping the rain would clear. It did for quite a while but closer to Lyndhurst it had rained enough to start getting a little slippery. I have never been so glad to see bitumen. We chipped 70kgs of mud off the van.
FollowupID: 884240

Reply By: gbc - Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 at 13:54

Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 at 13:54

We were heading west off the Cape in winter 2006 via Laura and Fairlight station. Hit the Bourke Developmental road and spent the next 2 days in some 'light showers' I believe the forecast was....... We had no real choice as we were caught out. The first road closed sign we found was at the bitumen into Normanton. A cattle truck went through in the middle of the night while we were camped at the Mitchell river crossing so any track damage we may have done was kind of blown away in comparison.
We have also been in Diamantina Gates NP when it rained - it was the parkies who recommended we hit the (black soil) road now or don't get out at all. A mess was indeed made.
P.S. - I'll be at Fraser in 2 weeks so if anybody needs rain just show up - we made it rain in Farina in July!!!
AnswerID: 613717

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 at 18:34

Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 at 18:34
So YOU'RE the one making it rain everywhere !!! :D
FollowupID: 884235

Reply By: Dean K3 - Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 at 18:28

Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 at 18:28
Depends on who owns the road, in this case appears to be a state government dept and in that case contacting them (if possible) is way to go.

Over in WA many roads are shire maintained and as such if you "proceed past road closed sign" its an offence insurance null n void and fines may apply.

I have heard of $1000 per wheel but all the local shire rangers I have spoken to about this have never confirmed this, more surprised I mentioned the fine amount etc.

It would however be acceptable for you to proceed on a road that is closed to nearest town or major road intersection and then find it closed without infringement.

Having said this july last year had bit of rain overnight south of Murchison we de-camped after a soggy night (my tent with its own water feature) slipped n slided our way northwards towards Ballinyoo Bridge, by time we reached Murchison refueled and checked with r/house on road conditions both directions were closed within few minutes of us leaving, kind of lucky otherwise we be stuck in Murchison for another 2-3 days
AnswerID: 613721

Reply By: 9900Eagle - Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 at 18:55

Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 at 18:55
Simple answer is nothing happens. I went north from Birdsville to Bedourie and came up to a road closed sign where the Birdsville/Bedourie road meets the Bedourie/Windorah road. Pulled into Bedourie and went to the shire office and reported the road was ok just a bit slippery and it would be just about dry. There were many waiting to go south, I called a couple of heavies and told them the road would probably be open soon, as the shire was happy with what I had told them.

They had closed the road about 15 mins after I left Birdsville. What is interesting after talking to a mate was, they only opened the Birdsville end as the traffic was arriving from Bedourie. That has got to make me wonder about a captive audience, the afternoon before the young publican at Birdsville said you won't be going anywhere in the morning, my reply was just watch me sunny as I have worked in and travelled a lot of this country when it is wet.
AnswerID: 613722

Reply By: Candace S. - Wednesday, Sep 13, 2017 at 23:22

Wednesday, Sep 13, 2017 at 23:22
Thanks for the responses. And the entertaining examples. :)

Good point about road closures benefiting local commerce...not that such considerations would ever influence decisions regarding opening/closing a track. ;-)
AnswerID: 613769

Follow Up By: Zippo - Thursday, Sep 14, 2017 at 10:56

Thursday, Sep 14, 2017 at 10:56
Not sure if closures DO benefit local commerce. Back in 2015 when the Ood Track was closed (rain, obviously) there was a woman bleating on ABC radio that her group were stuck in William Creek for a week with "only pub food to eat". The irony is that, on balance, for every vehicle that can't get out there is one that can't get in.

Also, while there may be nothing to DO in William Creek for a week, the pub food there is pretty good in my view.
FollowupID: 884296

Follow Up By: Ozi M - Thursday, Sep 14, 2017 at 16:12

Thursday, Sep 14, 2017 at 16:12
Just remember to book a table asap when you get there :)
FollowupID: 884305

Follow Up By: Zippo - Thursday, Sep 14, 2017 at 16:16

Thursday, Sep 14, 2017 at 16:16
Absolutely, they are the most popular dining option in town ;-)
FollowupID: 884306

Follow Up By: equinox - Thursday, Sep 14, 2017 at 18:59

Thursday, Sep 14, 2017 at 18:59
Late last year the Great Northern Highway was closed at Meekatharra going north - Due to problems with the road over 200km to the north.

They should have closed the road 200km to the north at the problem area (washouts at Kumarina)


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FollowupID: 884315

Follow Up By: Dean K3 - Friday, Sep 15, 2017 at 11:08

Friday, Sep 15, 2017 at 11:08
Alan (equinox) if my memory serves me correctly was large amount of rain in area, bridge works were being carried out at Kumarina, and subsequently temporary bridge was kind of destroyed/damaged.

Fair better off closing of at meeka than further north at least you have facilities in meeka unlike kumarina which is rather limited.

FollowupID: 884326

Reply By: OutBack Wanderers - Friday, Sep 15, 2017 at 16:45

Friday, Sep 15, 2017 at 16:45
Could ALL 4WD's please drive down the Pacific Hwy on the east coast
We desperately need rain and I've been told, where-ever you guys go, it rains

Here's hoping, lol not forgetting our farmers in the outback who are now going through their 11th year of drought in 18 yrs

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Follow Up By: 9900Eagle - Friday, Sep 15, 2017 at 18:05

Friday, Sep 15, 2017 at 18:05
6mm at Nundle a a couple of days age. Just 6mm short of doing good.
FollowupID: 884330

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