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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Better access along Araluen Road

Araluen Road, which links Moruya to Braidwood as it loosely follows the Deua River, is expected to be fully open this year. Eurobodalla Council’s director of infrastructure Tony Swallow said it had been a long road to recovery – literally – for the residents of the Deua River Valley and Merricumbene after the 2019-20 bushfires and following nine flood events caused unprecedented damage to property access right along Araluen Road.

“The mostly unsealed road surface suffered, bridges were damaged, and multiple roadside slopes collapsed with very serious consequences for the community living there,” Mr Swallow said. “I’m pleased to say that, more than three years after the first bushfire impacts, Araluen Road will soon open again.”

Council’s senior engineer Aaron Dunne said significant resources had been applied to restore safe access along Araluen Road and thanked locals for their patience to date, saying further upgrades were scheduled for the year. “While the bridges and sections of road closest to Moruya have been accessible for some time, the major landside near Pigeon Gully, about 43 kilometres from town, has proved challenging – with a unique combination of geological, financial, engineering and bureaucratic challenges to overcome,” Mr Dunne said.

“At Pigeon Gully we’ve built a 250 metre long retaining wall where the road had collapsed, and installed rock bolts and tension mesh to stabilise the slope above. We will also reconstruct and seal the road at this location shortly. While this work will continue for a few months, we hope to let commuters pass through the work site on weekends and on weekdays outside of 7am-4pm work hours. Other sections of Araluen Road continue to prove problematic, with damaged embankments and poor road surfaces. Mr Dunne said individual stabilisations plans had been developed for the different problem areas.

“Key sections have been earmarked for resurfacing and we’re extending the sealed section of road between Stewarts Road and J-Tree Road by an extra kilometre. We are also about to start upgrading the 1.4 kilometre section just north of the RFS shed.” Commuters can check the roadside message board for Araluen Road access changes over coming months.

Keep up to date with Araluen Road recovery and access restoration on Eurobodalla Council’s website. Eurobodalla Council is responsible for Araluen Road to just north of Pigeon Gully. Beyond that, responsibility for the road lies with Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council.

Above: Road work at Pigeon Gully on Araluen Road includes retaining walls and upslope rock bolting. The road is expected to open to commuters – for limited parts of the day – in April.

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