26 May 2023

Congo Road a step closer to reopening as Eurobodalla Shire Council approves proposal

| Claire Sams
Start the conversation
Road closed sign

Northern access to Congo is likely to be restored following a vote by Eurobodalla Shire councillors, but it will take at least a few months. Photo: Region.

News of a plan to open Congo Road North has been welcomed by the local community.

At the recent Eurobodalla Shire Council meeting (Tuesday, 23 May), councillors voted unanimously in favour of a proposal designed to see the road reopened.

The solution will include transferring ownership of a “paper road” from Crown Lands to the council and redefining the road boundaries.

A spokesperson for the Congo Community Association (CCA) told Region the long-awaited outcome was gratifying.

“A majority of the people that we advocate for didn’t feel happy to have a one way in, one way out road.

“We are really chuffed at our huge achievement.

“This has been a wonderful opportunity to work with the new council as a new association, and to advocate on an issue that was really important to our community and feel that we’ve been listened to,” they said.

A section of Congo Road North was closed in November 2021 following independent legal advice as council had sought to remove a small number of trees along the edge of the road.

However, work was deferred following objections from some members of the community and, at that point, the landowner’s agreement for the public to pass through their land was withdrawn, with potential liability issues cited.

The closure of the northern section meant residents and visitors to Congo had to rely on Congo Road South for entry and exit from the village.

READ ALSO Help to move traffic out of the slow lane with feedback on Braidwood and Bungendore roads

Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting, Deputy Mayor Alison Worthington thanked the Congo community for their advocacy.

“I just want to acknowledge that we had a lot of presenters in the chamber this morning on the matter.

“I appreciate you for coming to present, and also I believe most councillors have received a lot of correspondence from residents in Congo on this.

“And a lot of appreciation expressed there for everyone who’s worked towards getting us to the point where we have this option on the table – that’s staff through to council, Crown Lands, members of the community and our communications team here at council for keeping the community so informed along the way.”

READ ALSO Plain wrong: 150 residents meet to air opposition to Coonerang Wind Farm site

The CCA spokesperson said the closure had affected many aspects of life in the village.

“The decision to close the road in November 2021 was sudden.

“It’s been a very challenging time for the community, on the back of the bushfires and having that northern access road not open did, obviously, cause a great deal of concern,” they said.

“We’d gone from living with two evacuation routes to being a one road in, one road out community.”

The road closure also affected travel times to nearby towns and events, access to sites like libraries and supermarkets, as well as increased traffic on the southern road, the spokesperson said.

“It was quite impactful, but we’ve got to say the positives are that we’ve had excellent correspondence and communication with the council.

“They have openly communicated with us and we’ve had access, as the community association, to face-to-face meetings with Mayor Mathew Hatcher and general manager Warwick Winn and other communications to keep the community updated,” they said.

In the meeting, general manager Winn said it would likely take between nine and 12 months for access to be restored.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.