Work to re-open the Oxley Highway has been progressing following extensive landslips between Yarras and Walcha.
Deputy Premier and Minister Responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro said the NSW Government has been working hard with Walcha and Port Macquarie Hastings councils, geotechnical experts and local contractors to assess the damage following last month’s severe weather event.
“The Oxley Highway is an incredibly important stretch of road which had to be closed for safety reasons after experiencing more than 70 landslips, 10 of which were major,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Getting the highway reopened 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.
“We are working around the clock to reconnect communities and open the road, with heavy machinery being brought in and trucks hauling tonnes of material away, including rocks and fallen trees.
“The NSW Nationals in Government are committed to building a safer and stronger regional NSW by helping communities get back on their feet after the devastating floods.”
Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey said crews have been taking advantage of the better conditions, working to prepare the route to progressively reopen in sections, initially to single-lane, alternate flow.
“I know the importance of this route to local communities and visitors, and thank them for understanding the challenges we are facing to get traffic back on this vital transport and freight route as soon as safely possible,” Mrs Pavey said.
“Crews have also been carrying out geotechnical assessments but it will still be a number of months before we can safely allow motorists along this part of the highway.”
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said crews continued to work around the clock to re-open the route, but provisions were in place to help keep affected locals connected.
“Access has been provided for emergency vehicles, for those working to restore essential services to local residents, and for residents along some sections of the highway,” Mr Anderson said.
“Upcoming work between Yarras and Walcha includes looking at what temporary works are required to partially reopen the road safely.”