Emergency services have turned to the city’s last line of defence to fight off flood water that is lapping at the edge of central Maitland.
Dozens of State Emergency Service and Rural Fire Service officers worked together on Thursday to fill more than 4000 sandbags to reinforce the flood gates at Maitland Station.
The gates are rarely closed, but SES officials shut them about 9am.
A levee surrounds most of Maitland but steel flood gates are at points where there is a break in the levee, an RFS spokesman said.
He said the flood gates were built near openings of the levee, such as at Maitland train station, to stop the rail corridor becoming a drain that could funnel water into the city.
SES spokesman Craig Parsons said the gates were closed amid concerns that floodwater could flow into central Maitland.
“It [floodwater] is not rising any more, it has stopped,” he said.
“But it was rising over night and we were concerned that it might keep rising, that’s why the gates have been shut.”
Mr Parsons said there were also flood gates at Fishery Creek, which overflowed onto Cessnock Road on Wednesday.
He said the flood gates were open at the time of the overflow, but the high volume of water had washed over the gates.
Mr Parsons said this meant Cessnock Road would have flooded whether the gates were opened or closed.