Another landslide on Araluen Road : Myrtle Rim

Araluen Road residents have reported that the road, presently closed due to a landslide at Knowles Creek, now has a second landslide at Myrtle Rim (Merricumbene).

Local resident, Hamish Hudson, says "That means currently, on top of the flooded Stoney, Little Oakey and Big Oakey creeks, there is now no access through to Moruya from Araluen. Or vice versa obviously."

"As if catastrophic bushfire damage and 6 one in 50 year floods were not enough in the past 16 months were not enough, now the Eurobodalla Shire Council’s lack of action on our road has left us landlocked by two landslides."

Above: Landslip at Myrtle Rim - Photo: Hamish Hudson

Since the first landslide at Knowles Creek Eurobodalla Council has directed residents west of the landside, from a public council road onto forestry roads. Raising concerns around the very poor condition of this detour Council was asked this week who takes responsibility should an accident/damage occur due to the condition of the road — ESC or Forestry?

Rather than answering the question a Council spokesperson responded "The use of the forestry roads is a temporary alternative detour due to the closure of Araluen Road. Any enquiries should be directed to Forestry Corporation Forestry". A second question, again over concerns of the rapidly deteriorating condition of the forestry road bypass that is simply signposted as 'Drive to Conditions' was "Is it correct that the bypass roads should be sign posted so as to inform road users which agency is responsible for the road and its safety?" Council's response was "No that is not correct." Following to a major landslide on the Araluen Road on 2nd Nov 2020, Eurobodalla Shire Council (ESC) had discussions with Forestry about diverting traffic from council’s public road onto Forestry roads as a bypass. Those roads being Knowles, Wandera, Heffernans and Maulbrooks. Adding complexity to these detours for residents is the fact that Maulbrooks Road is currently being used as a timber haulage route.

It has been confirmed that this bypass is going to be used by general traffic for many months to come. The rains have had a considerable effect on the Araluen Road with major cracks, landslides and a rapidly deteriorating surface, primarily due to inadequate drainage. The road, once known as a Main Road (MR271) has over the years deteriorated in both status and stature. Once a reasonable connection between Braidwood and Moruya the road is a shadow of its former self and barely provides a quality access to residents, let alone those venturing along to visit Araluen and Majors Creek. The sub-optimal condition of the road is of concern in the context of the reports coming out that consultant engineers have advised the RMS executive that the top of Clyde Mountain is unstable due to a combination of bushfire damage to vegetation plus heavy rain in the last few months. It is understood that the RMS may be sitting on the report as the remedial works are expected to be very expensive. No doubt they will be hoping to get the works budgeted for in the next Financial Year. In the past the Araluen Road has played its role as a low tonnage detour in such circumstances when the Clyde is closed. This may no longer be the case as Council now considers its options awaiting another geo-technical report. An estimate to bypass the Knowles Creek landslide has been tossed about recently in the order of $30 million.