31 October 2021

Elliott Way set to open to the public on November 5

| Edwina Mason
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Elliott Way

The popular Elliott Way linking Tumbarumba and Cooma, is set to reopen to the public on November 5, 21 months after it was closed as a result of bushfires and storm activity. Photo: Supplied.

The asphalt has been well tested and passage just about clear for the reopening of the entire length of Elliott Way in early November.

If pundits are correct, Friday November 5 will see the handy little shortcut linking Tumbarumba and Cooma back in commission for the public after 21 months of roadworks.

The 2019-2020 bushfires followed by heavy rain in February 2020 resulted in significant damage – including three major landslides – to Elliott Way.

READ ALSO Elliott Way repair works under way with expected May completion

Steep hills seared by bushfires were an easy target for heavy rain in February 2020 washing soil and debris across Elliott Way and causing significant damage to the road. Photo: NPWS.

Ongoing wet conditions tormented the teams of workers assigned to the project as the estimated May 2021 deadline slipped into winter, triggering local community frustration.

These concerns were alleviated during a Snowy Valleys Council-initiated online forum in September involving National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Southern Ranges Manager Ryan Petrov who admitted government red tape played a part in the delays which meant work started 12 months after it closed.

Mr Petrov took pains to detail the scope of the works which he described as significant, before detailing a timeline for completion with October glistening as the big month.

Snowy Valleys Mayor James Hayes said the NPWS was right on target with the section of Elliott Way connecting Tumbarumba to Sue City opening in time to allow public access to O’Hare’s Campground for the start of fishing and boating season.

READ ALSO Protracted post-bushfire road closure angers Tumbarumba residents

There was also an undertaking that heavy vehicles could use the road in time for Snowy Hydro’s October 1-21 outage works at Tumut 2 Power Station and Tailrace with the road remaining closed to the public for that period.

Cr Hayes says he’s delighted the $12 million repair work to Elliott Way was drawing to a conclusion.

“Reopening Elliott Way will mean a big boost for tourism and will provide access which has been denied since the fires, which is really important,” Cr Hayes said.


According to the NPWS when debris and mud blocked the existing culverts, the water streaming off the bare slopes simply poured over the road. Photo: NPWS.

He’s optimistic the Snowy Valleys economy will surge as a result.

“There are business opportunities for the Tumbarumba community with Snowy 2.0 as well as the new Selwyn Ski resort which will hopefully be up and running by the middle of next year,” he added.

“It offers a faster route to Selwyn and hopefully lots of those people will use Tumbarumba as a base.”

Tradespeople travelling from Cooma working on Snowy 2.0 will find more time on their hands now they’re able to drive direct to the site instead of diverting through Tumut as they’ve had to do since the fires, the mayor said.

For the locals it’s like salve to the wound that has been the slow recovery from the bushfires – one that takes them one step closer to what used to be normal.

“It’s just like anything – when you had something and you don’t have it any more you seem to miss it more don’t you,” Cr Hayes said.

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