Eurobodalla Shire Council’s infrastructure director, Warren Sharpe, said work is continuing to restore access along Araluen Road after significant damage from bushfire, floods and heavy rain during 2020.
Mr Sharpe said bridges in the area are trafficable, but a major landslip 23km west of Moruya and minor slips along the length of Araluen Road present 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 fallen rock and debris to undertake major reinforcement works, or by designing and constructing an alternative route around the major landslip site,” he 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 Corporation NSW, Transport for NSW and emergency services.”
Mr Sharpe said 16 of the 28 slip sites along the length of Araluen Road have been cleared, and the remaining sites will 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 Bridge – have been replaced with more resilient concrete structures,” he 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 Codys Bridge on Larrys Mountain Road with a concrete one, overcoming future risk of it becoming unserviceable during a bushfire.”
Mr Sharpe said a significant number of bushfire-damaged trees had been removed, with monitoring in place to assess further dieback along the roadside.
“Many trees that had an initial burst of growth after the fires are now dying, putting the community at risk,” he said.
“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.
“As you’d expect, the surface across our 405km 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.”