Effects of Heavy Rainfall on Road Design and Transportation

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 883 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Words: 883|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Background on EWB Challenge
  3. Selected Challenge Project
  4. Background of the Communities
  5. Identification of the Stakeholders
  6. Identified Problem Statement
  7. References

Executive Summary

The following report focuses on the issue of transport and access to services for the local community in the remote area of Cape York in Northern Queensland, Australia. Due to the effects of heavy rainfall, some of the areas within the region become inhabitable and inaccessible, and the current roads also pose a problem of being run off by rainwater, contributing to sedimentation in the rivers and aiding in the spread of weed seeds, as they are mostly constructed of dirt or gravel. The project brief aims to identify a solution with the construct of sustainable roads, and the roads constructed must also have no adverse effects on the environment, hence tackling the issue of sedimentation and weed spread

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Background on EWB Challenge

Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB) is a non profit organisation that works in conjunction with the municipality towards the improvement of communities in remote parts of Australia by appropriating better technological improvements. In 2007, EWB instigated its design challenge for first year engineering students [1]. EWB provided the students with a design challenge with areas where the students could focus on, along with all the underlying data to help them better prepare a design element to address the problem [1]. In 2018, EWB undertook a water, sanitation and hygiene project in Cambodia and developed a solar powered piped water system for the village of Ratanakiri [2].

Selected Challenge Project

This year EWB Challenge is focusing its efforts on Cape York in Queensland, Australia, and will tackle the development of sustainable road in Design Area 1: Transport and access: Road design to reduce environmental impact [3].

Background of the Communities

Cape York is a remote peninsula in northern Queensland, Australia, with mostly flat tropical landscapes. The region is significantly eroded due to its lack of tectonic activity, and is subjugated by winding rivers and immense floodplains [4]. There is heavy rainfall between November and April, during which time it become almost uninhabitable, and a dry season between May and October [3] [5]. 

Due to the heavy rainfall, certain areas are only accessible by 4-wheel drive vehicles and by light aircraft. The roads are mostly dirt and gravel, however the Peninsula Development Road (PDR) is slowly being bituminised with the help of the government [3]. During the wet season, flooring results in the communities being inaccessible by vehicles, hence an alternative was established which serviced the people affected by airstrips transporting essentials, food and transport to the people. The heavy rain also caused the gravel road to come loose and get washed away, and it takes with it weed seeds which then gets deposited into river systems as the gravel is sedimented.

This poses an issue to the Traditional Owners of the land, to whom the Country was returned to after the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 and Cape York Peninsula Heritage Act 2007 [6]. Years of cattle farming has altered the ecosystem and the biodiversity, and the land management activities revolve around the wet and fire seasons as rangers prioritise responding to fires and floods over planning the infrastructure projects. The Traditional Land Owners have since started significant changes by partnering with the Center for Appropriate Technology (CfAT) and EWB to resurrect the Country for the local Aboriginal community [8].

Identification of the Stakeholders

Sustainable road design with reduced environmental impact is important to the local community of Cape York and the Traditional Owners and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, as it will help establish a more efficient and profound mode of transport and services and will combat some of the ecological issues due to sedimentation and weed growth.

Identified Problem Statement

The road that runs between the communities of Cape York are severe decremented and eroded die to the effects of decades of erosion and heavy rainfall during the monsoon season, which makes transportation and servicing of the local communities during the months of November to April difficult.

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The project needs to address the issues by help build sustainable roads that will not have negative repercussions on the environment and the ecology, and also have adverse effects on the spread of weed seeds and sedimentary gravel on the river system from run off roads. The design project needs to be cost effective and the resources for the infrastructure must be easily transportable to the project site.


  1. S. Cutler, M. Borrego and D. Loden, 'An evaluation of the Australian engineers without borders challenge from the course coordinators' perspectives,' 2011 Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), Rapid City, SD, 2011, pp. T1G-1-T1G-6.
  2. Engineers Without Borders Australia. 2019. Partnering For Impact - Engineers Without Borders Australia. [online] Available at:
  3. 2020. Design Area 1: Transport And Access | EWB Challenge. [online] Available at:
  4. Pain, F., Wilford, J. and Dohrenwend, J., n.d. REGOLITH-LANDFORM EVOLUTION ON CAPE YORK PENINSULA: IMPLICATIONS FOR MINERAL EXPLORATION C F PAIN1, J R WILFORD1 AND J C DOHRENWEND2 1 Cooperative Research Centre For Landscape Evolution And Mineral Exploration. [ebook] pp.55-64. Available at:
  5. n.d. Climate Statistics For Australian Locations. [online] Available at:
  6. n.d. Thinking About Indigenous Homelands And The Cape York Peninsula | EWB Challenge. [online] Available at: 2017. Australia : Indigenous Company To Help Deliver Cape York Road Project. [online] London: Albawaba (London) Ltd. Available at:
  7. Wallis, R., Wallis, A. and Picone, A., 2012. After 80 years absence, Wuthathi people plan for the return and management of ancestral homelands on Cape York Peninsula. Ecological Management & Restoration, 13(1), pp.81-84.
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Cite this Essay

Effects of Heavy Rainfall on Road Design and Transportation. (2023, August 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 19, 2024, from
“Effects of Heavy Rainfall on Road Design and Transportation.” GradesFixer, 31 Aug. 2023,
Effects of Heavy Rainfall on Road Design and Transportation. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 Apr. 2024].
Effects of Heavy Rainfall on Road Design and Transportation [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 31 [cited 2024 Apr 19]. Available from:
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