Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Gunnedah Shire Council has been making the most of the fine weather to progress repair work on the Shire’s flood damaged roads, but some of the more significantly damaged roads will remain closed for months.

Gunnedah Shire, like many other areas throughout New South Wales, sustained millions of dollars worth of damage to its road network in the flood events of 2022.

Gunnedah Shire Council Director Infrastructure Services Jeremy Bartlett said Council had already undertaken more than $2.2 million in flood restoration works this financial year, and is continuing to progress the Flood Restoration Road Maintenance Program.

“Our three maintenance grading crews, two construction crews and contractors, where available, are working to restore the Shire’s 1615km network that includes 145km of State Roads,” Mr Bartlett said.

Significant emergency works have already been undertaken at Orange Grove Bridge, Grain Valley Road causeway, Goolhi Road, and Clifton Road causeways.

“Unfortunately, repeated flood events and roads are not a good mix. As well as the existing problems, damage sometimes continues under the surface of the roads for some time after the flood event, and it can take some time before the full extent of the damage is apparent and known.”

“We are working with consulting engineers and contractors to accelerate the repair process,” Mr Bartlett said.

“We know delays caused by closures, roadworks and damaged roads are frustrating, and we ask for your patience while we continue to work towards getting our road network back in good shape.” 

Further delays may also be caused by the need to get large scale works approved by Transport for NSW, including repairing the significant damage to Hunts Road in Gunnedah which is open to residents only, and the Maitland Street Bridge in Breeza which will be closed for some months.

Bulunbulun Road, off the Kamilaroi Highway, was closed for safety reasons recently due to damage at a causeway near the boundary with Liverpool Plains Shire. Significant creek flows undermined the concrete slab of this causeway and, with the heavy traffic that has been on this road, the slab has failed, and the causeway has sunk into the void.

Unfortunately, there is no simple or short-term repair that can be implemented to safely keep the road open. Council’s works staff and a consulting engineer have inspected the site and are liaising with Transport for New South Wales to have the causeway reconstructed.  This process will take time, and the road is likely to be closed for some months.

In better news, the heavily damaged Simson Bridge in Breeza will be partially open. Council will restrict the bridge to one lane with a 40k/h speed limit. Further analysis is being undertaken by a consulting engineer regarding the operation of the bridge, and the repairs required.

Gunnedah Shire Council regularly releases its schedule of planned works for the upcoming six week period for Flood Restoration and Unsealed Road Maintenance on social media and its website: www.gunnedah.nsw.gov.au/index.php/community/community-alerts/road-works-closures

Top image: Flood damage at Maitland Street bridge, Breeza (supplied)

Read the New England Times investigative series on the state of our roads Part 1 and Part 2.

Have something to say about this story? Submit your own opinion piece, or quick word, to The Net.