Cardwell’s roads were like a war zone after Cyclone Yasi. Photo: Queensland Reconstruction Authority
Cardwell’s roads were like a war zone after Cyclone Yasi. Photo: Queensland Reconstruction Authority

Cardwell on the mend after Yasi

HUNDREDS of trucks drive along the main street of seaside Cardwell on the Bruce Highway every day almost a year after Cyclone Yasi devastated it.

Category 5 Yasi hammered coastal areas at 8pm on February 2, 2011 and the eye crossed the coast at Mission Beach.

Yasi caused major damage to buildings, crops, roads and coastline at Mission Beach, Innisfail, Tully and Cardwell, where winds of 290km caused devastation.

It was rated by authorities as the worst cyclone in Australian history, surpassing Tracey which smashed into Darwin in 1974 killing 65 people.

The Bruce Hwy remained closed for five days after Yasi as a result of associated rain water, debris and flooding.

Often these became storm surges in areas after king tides peaked.

Big Rigs travelled to all of the affected areas on the day the roads opened back in 2011 and Cardwell's main street looked like a war zone.

Only one lane was open to traffic, as much of the beach near the outside lane had been blown away during Yasi.

Flashing signs beside the highway advised all motorists to 'drive with caution' and 'Not to stop' at Cardwell.

Along the way there were hundreds of trucks of most makes and sizes heading towards the towns with machinery, building equipment, food, gas bottles, generators and just about everything else needed.

During late December 2011, I again travelled through Cardwell on the way to Cairns, and things have returned to normal.

The trucks are constantly travelling through Cardwell, even though most of the trees which used to line the oceanside are gone.

So too is the colourful toilet which used to be a popular stop- off for truckies answering a call of nature. It too was a victim of Yasi.

One bonus for truckies and the public is that the Cardwell Marine Hotel opened again in September after it was severely damaged by Yasi winds.

The Choice Roadhouse is popular with truckies and so to is the yellow pie cart near the northern entrance to Cardwell.

Yasi was rated by authorities as the worst cyclone in Australian history, surpassing Tracey.

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