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Work continues to reopen Araluen Road

Work continues to restore full access along Araluen Road following significant damage from fire, floods and heavy rain in 2020.

Eurobodalla Council’s director of infrastructure Warren Sharpe said bridges in the area were trafficable but a major landslip 23 kilometres west of Moruya and minor slips along the length of Araluen Road presented significant challenges.

“Araluen Road continues to be closed to through traffic while we work to reopen the road in the medium-to-long term; either by removing the fallen rock and debris to undertake major reinforcement works, or by designing and constructing an alternative route around the major landslip site,” Mr Sharpe said.

“Specialist geotechnical engineers are investigating both options, with drone and ground surveys done and detailed design underway. We are in contact with landowners, Forestry NSW, Transport for NSW and emergency services.”

Mr Sharpe said 16 of the 28 slip sites along the length of Araluen Road had been cleared, with the remaining sites to be repaired during 2021.

“The route experienced significant damage to four bridges in the fires and floods of 2020, and two bridges – Pigeon Gully and Bradburys – had been replaced with more resilient concrete structures,” Mr Sharpe said.

“We’ve also let contracts to replace the remaining two timber bridges – McGregors Creek and Kennys Creek – with modular concrete structures. We’ll access these sites from the Braidwood end due to the major slip at Knowles Creek.

“In related work, we’ve used grant funding to replace the old timber Cody’s Bridge on Larrys Mountain Road with a concrete one, overcoming future risk of it becoming unserviceable during bushfire.”

Mr Sharpe said a significant number of fire-damaged trees had been removed, with monitoring in place to assess further die back along the roadside.

“Many trees that had an initial burst of growth after the fires are now dying, putting the community at risk. We are negotiating with the NSW and Australian Governments to deal with this ongoing issue. Dealing with adverse impacts due to the huge growth of dense wattle along our roadsides is also a significant challenge,” he said.

“As you’d expect, the surface across our 405 kilometres of gravel rural roads has seen significant material loss due to floods and from trucks accessing rural areas as part of the clean-up and rebuild.

“Thankfully the NSW Government has responded to our advocacy and provided further funding for extra maintenance grading and gravel sheeting. Araluen Road will further benefit from a mixture of government and Council funds to restore the road during 2021.”

Above: Bradburys Bridge on Araluen Road has been replaced using a modular concrete system to ensure its resilience into the future.