John Barilaro, Paul Toole, and Melinda Pavey, Media Release, 31 March 2021
Crews will continue to work around the clock over the Easter long weekend to clean up landslips caused by wild weather on Waterfall Way between Dorrigo and Bellingen and restore access for communities.
Deputy Premier and the Minister Responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro said more than 500mm of rain fell during the recent severe weather event, closing the road from Friday 19 March.
“We know how important the Waterfall Way is to communities and to the local economy and we’re pulling out all the stops to get it reopened as soon as possible,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The absolute drenching received in the area resulted in five major landslips and 12 minor slips along this key stretch of road which crews are now working to fix.
“Some of the largest slips are on sections where the embankment is up to 30 metres high, covering up to 100 metres along the road, with multiple trucks removing tonnes of material every day.”
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said a technique called soil nailing was being used to safely stabilise the slips and get the road re-opened as soon as possible.
“Right now, we’re inserting 120 nine-metre-long metal ‘nails’ to help stabilise the Newell Falls area, located at the bottom of the range,” Mr Toole said.
“It’s a challenging task with narrow road space to operate machinery and the potential for new land slips and falling trees.
“I know this is an important route for locals and I thank them for their ongoing patience as our crews work hard to stabilise the slope before we can look to re-open the road.”
Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey said the community spirit of the Mid North Coast shone through in the response to the aftermath of the flooding.
“We currently have Bellingen Shire Council crews working in collaboration with a number of contractors and other staff from both Council and Transport for NSW,” Mrs Pavey said.
“These crews are making great progress and will work throughout the Easter holiday period in order to take advantage of the current favourable weather conditions.
“Restricted access is also being provided to emergency services and those vehicles required to restore essential water, sewer and power services.”
It is expected the road will be reopened with some single-lane restrictions between Dorrigo and Bellingen by mid-to-late next week, with a further update to be provided early next week.
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