Araluen Road will reopen to traffic between Moruya and Braidwood today, April 23rd 2020.
The road had been closed since 15 December when bushfires caused the Kings Highway to close. The Currowan fire later destroyed homes and outbuildings along Araluen Road, along with thousands of trees, timber bridges and sections of road pavement.
Eurobodalla Council was able to respond quickly to restore access for residents by removing dangerous trees, making temporary repairs to Kennys bridge and McGregors Creek bridge, and building a side track to allow local traffic to safely pass Pigeon Gully bridge on the Queanbeyan-Palerang border.
Photo by Patricia Gardiner
The road through to Braidwood remained closed, however, due to the damage sustained in the Queanbeyan-Palerang local government area.
Eurobodalla Council’s director of infrastructure Warren Sharpe OAM said devastation from bushfire and floods on rural roads like Araluen Road had been enormous.
“Fire-affected councils everywhere are replacing lost bridges, fixing damaged road surfaces, slips and erosion, and have removed thousands of fallen and fire affected trees,” he said.
“In Eurobodalla alone, we need to replace 18 bridges, repair more than 490 kilometres of fire affected road, guardrails and signs. It’s a massive undertaking but we’re making solid progress.”
And while the Araluen Road opening is good news, Mr Sharpe encouraged drivers heading to Braidwood to continue using the Kings Highway.
“It’s a better bet than trekking over a long and narrow unsealed road, and keeps it freed up for the people who live out there,” he said.
“We’re so grateful to the residents for their patience during an unimaginably tough time for them. And our works crews have done an amazing job in difficult circumstances.”
Mr Sharpe said the Council’s rebuild of Pigeon Gully bridge with concrete box culverts was almost complete and the side track remained in place for passing traffic.
In the coming weeks, Council crews will grade Araluen Road from Pigeon Gully at the shire boundary back to Moruya, gravel resheet key sections and clear up remaining flood damage.
Pigeon Gully bridge, above and below - Photo by Patricia Gardiner
Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council advise that "While we have now removed the “road closed” signs from Araluen Road, we remind drivers to restrict travel to essential travel only until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted." "In further good news for users of Araluen Road, we have been successful in a grant application to the 2020/21 NSW Safer Roads Program and will receive close to $670,000 for further improvements to the sealed section of Araluen Road. The funding will allow vegetation clearing, installation of semi-rigid guard rails, vehicle activated signs, raised reflective pavement markers (‘cats eyes’) and other signage – all aimed at improving safety for users of the road. Work funded by this grant is expected to commence in late 2020."