25 April 2021

Impact of floods, fire and storms will be felt for a long time in Eurobodalla

| Lottie Twyford
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bushfire damaged bridge

Work has yet to begin on Murphy Bridge, the largest destroyed in the Black Summer bushfires. Photo: Eurobodalla Shire Council.

The impacts of fire and flood in the Eurobodalla area will be felt for a long time to come with the widespread damage leaving a list of works to be completed.

The region’s rural road network has been set back an entire decade after the combination of fires, floods and land slips.

Council’s director of infrastructure services, Warren Sharpe OAM, said the the floods in March were the sixth extreme weather event to cause damage since the Black Summer bushfires, leaving serious land slips and longitudinal cracking in sections of the road network.

“Some of these repairs are in extremely difficult terrain and especially those on the downhill side of roads which will be very challenging and time consuming to fix.

“We really feel for the people in these more remote areas of our shire as they’re now faced with serious challenges in accessing their properties, getting produce to market and being able to rebuild following the bushfires,” he said.

According to Mr Sharpe, these residents have not been forgotten and the Council has started work with Transport for NSW and Resilience NSW to develop solutions, secure funding and ultimately complete the works.

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Since January 2020, $11.8 million in works has been completed however there are still areas yet to be tackled.

Mr Sharpe said Araluen Road was one of those challenges.

After a landslip about 23 kilometres west of Moruya closed the road in November, a permanent solution has not been found due to the complexity of the situation – steep terrain, proximity of the river, land tenure and instability issues.

The March flooding caused more rock and debris to block the roadway and due to the risk of further slips, it cannot simply be cleared off.

Options currently being investigated include constructing an alternate route or undertaking major reinforcement works.

Work continues to replace the 19 fire and flood damaged bridges in the Eurobodalla Shire.

Thirteen of these have already been replaced or repaired while another four have been temporarily reinstated.

Mr Sharpe said the remaining two bridges destroyed by the bushfires, Murphy Bridge and Old Bolaro Creek Bridge, were expected to commence in the second half of this year. Murphy Bridge is the largest destroyed bridge to be replaced as it crosses the main Tuross River.

To stay up to date with current works, visit the Council’s website.

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Jeff de Jager8:34 am 26 Apr 21

Araluen Road has been blocked by a landslide since rains last November. Not only has this been catastrophic for isolated residents but is a shameful indictment on the shire, state and nation to see the only viable alternative to the Kings Highway let be rundown in recent years and now left so long before repair. The road has strategic importance but none of the three levels of government seem too concerned despite all the promises to provide jobs for shovel ready projects of which this road’s rectification is certainly one!

Tricia Gardiner11:51 am 27 Apr 21

You are absolutely correct, Jeff.
It is a disgrace that council refuses to have a face to face meeting with residents to provide us the opportunity to share our stories on how the road closure is impacting our lives, livelihoods and emotional well being, as well as providing answers to our questions.

The updates they have send us often contain misinformation, information we already know or simply repeat that which has been said before.
Any resident or council worker who has worked on Araluen Road will tell you that the recent ‘floods’ simply exacerbated that which has been occurring for years. Apart from one grade a year, the western end rarely receives any interim maintenance such as cleaning out gutters and drainage pipes.

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