The Rheben Road Bridge which was under construction was washed off at its abutments. This means nearly 400 homes and sharks at Spring Beach have been cut off by road

Orford’s Spring Beach along Tasmania’s east coast has been completely disconnected by road after heavy rain washed away a temporary bridge this afternoon, the Council of Glamorgan Spring Bay has reported.

The Rheben Road Bridge which was under construction was washed off at its abutments.

This means nearly 400 homes and sharks at Spring Beach have been cut off by road though pedestrians have access via a walkway.

Engineers have already assessed the damage and Greg Ingham, the general manager of the Council promised that work would begin tomorrow morning in a bid to secure access for the residents.

“There is a new bridge being put in but unfortunately in the middle of construction we’ve been hit with this weather,” he said.

“The abutments, the portions of road against the [temporary] bridge, have washed out.

“The approaches have washed away, you could basically say the bridge has washed away … certainly it is totally inaccessible you wouldn’t be able to get any vehicle through there.”

While Mr Ingham shied away from giving a specific date, he noted that the council was “hopeful” that access would be restored by this Saturday.

“Assuming that the worst of the rain is over — and the BOM [Bureau of Meteorology] site has indicated that — the works manager said that we could have vehicle access back on Saturday.”

He added that the site’s creek had turned into a “raging river”.

Most parts of Tasmania have been inundated as torrential rains and strong winds coming as a low-pressure system hit the state.

The severe weather conditions began in the wee hours of this morning, as wind gusts moving at speeds of up to 115km/h hit Cape Grim in the far northwest areas.

At some point, the area experienced a blackout that affected 1,300 people, thankfully by evening the 16 power outages had been restored to all except 134 customers.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issued an extreme weather warning for highly damaging east to north-easterly winds across most parts of the state including the west coast, east coast, central north, Upper Derwent Valley area, King Island as well as the Furneaux Island.

According to the weather Bureau’s forecaster Matthew Thomas, the severe weather alert could also have a significant impact on the southern areas of the state like Bruny Island.

“We do have a severe weather warning for damaging easterly winds which does take in the east coast … particularly the exposed parts like the Tasman Peninsula and Bruny Island and also the west of the state and the central plateau,” he reported.

Even though rain has cleared in some parts, it’s likely to reappear and continue on Friday.

‘Like a cyclone’

Smithton situated in the state’s far northwest parts has recorded wind gusts of up to 93km/h.

These gusts went on to knock down rubbish bins along the streets besides throwing garden debris around, damaging fences and bringing down trees.

By Thursday afternoon, the state’s north and northeast areas experienced showers of between 30mm and 60mm with some areas recording higher amounts such as 153mm at Gray, 143mm at St Patricks Head and 65 millimetres of rain at St Helens on the east coast.

The southeast received scattered showers of around 15mm.

Tasmania police have warned motorists to be careful on the roads due to the effects of water on them.

Flood warnings are in place for several areas including Jordan, Meander, Macquarie, South Esk and Coal rivers, with a flood watch being in place for northern Tasmania.

Tristan Oakley, a renowned forecaster noted that wild weather was emanating from a low pressure system that formed over Victoria.

“It’s actually moving its way over Bass Strait and it’ll slowly move over us today and tomorrow and clear away by the weekend,” he said.

The State Emergency Service (SES) attended to a couple of call-outs in relation to fallen trees and flooded roads though no significant damage was reported.

The SES asked people to:

  • Supervise children closely
  • Ensure family and neighbours are fully aware of issued warnings
  • Carefully manage pets and livestock
  • Secure or move outdoor items like furniture, play equipment etc. indoors
  • Prepare for power outages
  • Beware of fallen trees and powerlines and drive carefully

The information contained in this article is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs, objectives or circumstances into consideration, and is not financial advice, legal advice or otherwise a recommendation to purchase any financial product or insurance policy. You should seek your own independent financial advice from a qualified financial and insurance adviser before making any financial decisions, and seek your own independent legal advice from a qualified solicitor before making any decisions of a legal nature.

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