Bellingen Shire Council continues to focus all of its Operational resources towards managing existing closures on Waterfall Way and is working with Transport for NSW (TfNSW) to commence recovery works, subject to weather conditions and further geotechnical and environmental investigations.
Advice received from TfNSW is that closures are likely to be in place for a minimum of three weeks as there are six major landslips identified that spread from Myers Bluff (east of Thora) to Sherrard Falls. (The above map indicates the estimated locations).
An existing slip at Gordonville Cutting has been addressed, however the size, extent, severity, and number of slips present continues to make it very challenging for crews to conduct further Geotech and environmental assessments to prepare for these additional recovery works.
Priority recovery works have also been commenced on clearing Waterfall Way at Sherrard Falls ensuring the appropriate safeguards are put in place to allow access for emergency and essential services vehicles to move between Dorrigo and Bellingen, however it is unlikely that access will become available before late next week.
Essential services access is currently being defined in consultation with Transport for NSW.
Further, in relation to land slips at Site D Myers Bluff, ongoing investigations have indicated that, subject to weather conditions, this section of Waterfall Way will not be open to vehicular traffic until at least the end of the third week in April.
Restricted access to Summervilles Road which is a local road and not designed to take high traffic volumes is being provided to emergency services and those vehicles required to restore essential water, sewer and power services.
Transport for NSW recognises Waterfall Way is a critical road for locals and is working with council and contractors to ensure it is open without any unnecessary delay.
Consequently, our community is strongly encouraged to only travel when it is absolutely necessary to minimise impacts on our compromised roads, as there are limited resources available to address the significant number of defects across our entire road network to maintain essential access.
Due to the extent of damage across our Shire’s road network, Council’s Asset Team will also continue to re-assess road conditions and prioritise road maintenance and repair activities to ensure essential access is maintained where possible.
Council has advocated for recovery support from the Australian Defence Force (ADF). ADF resources have been identified and Council will liaise further as to how these resources can be deployed.
Accordingly, Council would like to thank you in advance for your cooperation and patience for avoiding all unnecessary travel during the roll-out of these prioritised road maintenance and repair activities, as it will prevent our limited resources from being diverted away from these priority projects.
Crews will work all through Easter to get the road open as soon as it is safe to do so. Motorists are advised to drive to the conditions and follow the directions of signs and traffic control.
In terms of an alternative route, Council has remained engaged in ongoing discussions with Transport for NSW regarding Summervilles Road and opportunities to fund and deliver road upgrade works to accommodate its use as an alternate route between Thora on Waterfall Way and Bellingen. Council is also currently carrying out an alternate travel options report to explore alternative routes across the shire.
In addition, Council encourages those who must travel between Dorrigo Mountain and the seaboard to use Eastern Dorrigo Way (Cascade).
Importantly for those in our community who are affected by the recent floods Council’s Resilience Officers have established a contact point via Council’s resilience Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/ResilienceBelloShire/. We encourage you to register here and make contact.
For the latest traffic updates download the Live Traffic NSW App, visit livetraffic.com or call 132 701.
Council also encourages our community to regularly access our Shire’s Disaster Dashboard, by simply clicking hereor by going to the Bellingen Shire Council’s website at www.bellingen.nsw.gov.auand click on the Disaster Dashboard link prominently located on the website’s Home Page.