Above: Reedy Creek Bridge was one of many Eurobodalla bridges to be destroyed in the bushfire disaster. Image courtesy Eurobodalla Shire Council.
Eurobodalla Council's director of infrastructure services says the shire's rural road network has been set back about a decade following seven natural disasters in 15 months.
Warren Sharpe says the floods in March wreaked havoc across 490km of the local road network, including 405km of the shire’s unsealed roads.
Mr Sharpe says council really feels for the people in remote areas of the shire who are impacted.
Residents on Araluen Road have been severely disadvantaged as a result of ongoing damage and families at Cadgee say they are also at their wits end as they negotiate difficult roads and long detours just to get basic services, including access to education, health services, businesses, food, friends and family.
Mr Sharpe says the combination of disasters has taken a toll with some repairs in extremely difficult terrain. He says he understand the residents need help and says council has engaged technical specialists and is working with Transport for NSW and Resilience NSW to develop solutions, secure funding and get the recovery work completed.
Mr Sharpe said Araluen Road was one of those challenges. A landslip about 23 kilometres west of Moruya closed the road in November.
“The last flood saw even more rock and debris fall onto the roadway at the slip site,” Mr Sharpe said. “Simply clearing the material off the road is not an option as the risk of further slips is unacceptably high."
He said Council is still considering the feasibility of two options, that is, removing the fallen debris and undertaking major slope stabilisation reinforcement works, or designing and constructing an alternative route around the landslip.
“We are prioritising this work but both options are complex given the steep terrain, proximity of the river, land tenure and instability issues.
“In the meantime, we continue to maintain and repair the alternate resident-only access and write to impacted residents to provide regular updates,” Mr Sharpe said.
Mr Sharpe said Council is working to replace the shire’s 19 fire and flood damaged bridges continues.
“We’ve already replaced or repaired 13 of 19 damaged bridges, including building 11 new concrete structures and temporary reinstatement of another four.
“Belimbla and Sitters Ditch bridges on Belowra Road are currently under construction. We already have the designs and bridge components for McGregors Creek and Kennys Creek bridge rebuilds on Araluen Road, however, construction has been delayed until the access issues have been resolved.”
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.
“Road access to the highway is currently available to properties on both sides of the river,” Mr Sharpe said.
“We are currently calling quotations for the supply of the bridge components and then for the design of foundations and installation of the bridge. We aim to complete these two bridges by late 2021.”