Works on the Oxley Highway are restarting following heavy flooding in May which damaged the 120-kilometre stretch between Yarra and Walcha in New South Wales.
“The Oxley Highway is an important corridor for local communities and tourists, but reopening will be no easy task, particularly as some of these slips were from below the roadway, making it dangerous for repair crews to access the sites,” said John Barilaro, Deputy Premier and Minister Responsible for Disaster Recovery.
According to Paul Toole, Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, crews are working around the clock to re-open key regional roads like the Oxley Highway so local communities could keep moving.
Toole says there are currently 70 landslips along the Oxley Highway, presenting a difficult solution for the crews, geotechnical experts and local contractors.
“Getting the Oxley fully re-opened will be a long process as it remains dangerous for repair crews to access several sites, particularly where slips have occurred below the roadway, but the community can rest assured we’re moving as quickly and as safely as possible,” said Melinda Pavey, Member for Oxley.
Engineering trials are currently underway to determine the best method to stabilise the slipped sections of the highway.
“We’re carrying out more investigation work, with extensive drilling and soil nailing operations being undertaken before we can finalise the repair design. Just removing fallen rocks, soil and debris is a difficult job, with tipper trucks at times needing to travel kilometres to find a safe area to turn around,” said Pavy.
Across NSW crews are also working on the wider damaged road network with 26 out of 30 affected roads being re-opened since the flooding.
Kevin Anderson, Member for Tamworth says the Oxley Highway will be opened in sections, initially using a single lane with an alternating traffic flow system.