Council say No easy fix for Merricumbene landslide

Plans are being made to re-open Araluen Road at the latest landslide site near Merricumbene, but it will be no easy fix.

Rock and debris fell onto the roadway on Friday evening, completely blocking the road in mountainous terrain around 43km west of Moruya.

Above: Aerial and ground views of Araluen Road near Merricumbene, where a landslide on Friday evening closed the road. Meanwhile, investigations are progressing for a permanent detour around the Knowles Creek landslide. Council’s Director of Infrastructure Warren Sharpe OAM said the road cannot simply be cleared and re-opened to traffic due to instability on both the high and low sides of the road.

“The longitudinal cracking on the low side means part of the road is now falling away over a length of several hundred metres as well as the landslide from the high side.

“Initial inspections were undertaken in daylight on Saturday, and we were out there again today with a geotechnical specialist,” he said.

The aim is to work toward re-opening the road initially with a 5-tonne load limit in place.

However, Mr Sharpe warned there is uncertainty because further rain predicted this week means potential for further impacts.

“The geotechnical specialist is preparing a systematic sequence of works to mitigate risk to the public and ensure the safety of the workers who will undertake the work.”

Access to Araluen Road east of the landslide at Merricumbene is now only available from Moruya using the temporary detour road via Mount Wandera. Access to Araluen Road west of this landslide is only available from Braidwood.

There are no alternate routes around this site.

Mr Sharpe reports further landslides had also occurred at the closed section approximately 23km from Moruya at Knowles Creek, where flooding caused a serious landslide in November.

He said drill rigs were onsite this week to take core samples along the alternate route currently being investigated for that site.

Council has sought the assistance of the NSW and Australian Governments to help with solutions to damaged local road infrastructure following the bushfires then seven floods in just 15 months.

Updates will be provided as information comes to hand.