BRISBANE, Jan 2 AAP - A temporary track will be built to bypass the site of a derailed train in Queensland's northwest while the Flinders Highway has re-opened.
The train was carrying more than 800,000 litres of sulfuric acid, of which about 31,500 litres spilled when all 26 of the train's wagons overturned near Julia Creek last Sunday.
An exclusion zone around the site was reduced from 2km to 50 metres on Friday, allowing the Flinders Highway to re-open.
Queensland Rail staff, who weren't able to properly assess the site because of floodwaters and the exclusion zone, are now putting plans in place to build an 800m temporary track around the site.
Construction of the track, which would allow freight and passenger train services to resume, is expected to take about four days after planning approvals are granted and will coincide with the removal of the derailed train.
Buses will replace Inlander train services between Townsville and Mount Isa from Sunday.
Meanwhile, specialists are continuing to monitor water quality in the area.
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection said this week they hold concerns about acidity levels in nearby Horse Creek and are looking at ways to neutralise the acid.