Road to North Brother mountain opens

Port Macquarie-Hastings

Last Friday, our crew wrapped up the week with the major accomplishment of reopening the road to the North Brother Mountain summit.

Captain Cook Bicentennial Drive sustained significant damages during the March floods, and the road has been closed since, keeping us all from the spectacular view of the Camden Haven.

As we made recovery progress in the month’s following the floods and key routes such as Comboyne Road and the Stoney Creek Bridge were reinstated, we turned our attention to projects that did not affect access to residential properties, but do provide an important recreational facility for our community.

At the top of our list, was the well-loved North Brother lookout. Our crew kicked off works in the last week of May, embarking on the job with the belief that they would only be repairing with a large sinkhole that destroyed a large section of the road.

The sinkhole was the result of the sustained heavy rainfall, and a cracked stormwater pipe that runs under the road. Our crew completed these repairs in just two weeks, but further up the road, they uncovered an upslope slip, a downslope slip, and over 1600 tons of debris on the roadway that needed to be cleared as well.

Dan Bylsma, Director of Infrastructure said that this major repair work required a multi-agency approach to effectively restore access.

“As this road boarders National Parks land, we worked closely with National Parks and Wildlife Service to plan and action repairs on the remaining damages. Local contractors and specialists were also engaged to progress works on clearing the massive amounts of debris over the road.

“We’re thankful for their collaboration in reinstating safe access to this important community space,” said Dan.

The project has received great community interest and support, being a much-loved scenic attraction, and a token of the beautiful place we call home.

Prior to the floods, we had received a grant to install a semi-rigid safety barrier along Captain Cook Bicentennial Dr, and we were able to accelerate this work and slot in the installation while we cleared the upslope slip to further improve safety and remove the requirement for a future road closure.

With works wrapped up and all 4 major issues repaired, Dan noted the excellent work by everyone involved, and their continued commitment to get the job done.

“With the road reopened, our community can once again safely enjoy the space, and we hope the sustained efforts of our crew are appreciated in a time where the accessibility of our open spaces is more important than ever.”

“Our open spaces are key for us to stay active and healthy in lockdown, and offer a safe change of scenery, which is really important to our mental health.

“To see a major project like this from start to finish has been a great milestone for our team, but to also have the community behind us has made it much more rewarding. It shows us why we do what we do, and it reminds us that our community really do love this place that we work so hard to maintain” said Dan.

Our crew will now turn their focus to the next recovery projects on our list, which currently stands at over 900 assets needing repairs, restoration, and renewal. This includes the make-safe works at Rocks Ferry, and the restoration of the pontoon at McInherney Park.

We remind our community to follow outdoor recreation restrictions, as outlined by NSW Health if they visit North Brother during the lockdown period. To see the current restrictions for our community, visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/affected-regions.

The installation of the semi-rigid barrier on the Captain Cook Bicentennial Dr roadside was funded by the Federal Government’s Black Spot Program.

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