Byron Shire Council will seek funding from the state government to help repair Wilsons Creek Road, which remains off limits to two-way traffic and heavy vehicles after a natural disaster in late January.
The disaster affected the road immediately west of the primary school, as a landslip damaged the road embankment and removed approximately half the existing sealed road pavement.
The landslip has restricted road use to vehicles up to five tonnes in weight, with traffic regulated by a one-way contraflow system.
Council’s executive manager of community infrastructure, Phil Holloway, said staff and geotechnical experts were currently working on the best way to permanently stabilise the area, which was necessary before funding for the repair work could be sought.
‘Once we know the best option for stabilising the road, there is then a process Council has to comply with to access state government funding to pay for the cost of the road repairs,’ he said.
‘All works and options have to be investigated fully, with design, cost estimates, and all documentation submitted to Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) for consideration and approval before construction commences onsite.’
Mr Holloway said the cost of the repair was likely to be substantial.
‘It is too early to know for sure how much the repair work will cost, but any work will obviously come at a considerable price,’ he said.
‘We would prefer the community’s limited road budget to be spent on improvement works rather than simply repairing what has been destroyed by a natural disaster, which is why we will seek state government funding,’ he said.
‘We appreciate this process takes time, and that this has an impact on community members that make particular use of Wilsons Creek Road while the process is worked through.
‘Council is doing all it can to get through this process as quickly as possible, while also making sure that the best option for securing Wilsons Creek Road is pursued.’
Mr Holloway said that, in the meantime, Council would focus on ensuring community residents could at least use one lane of the badly damaged road.
‘Council’s works to date have been to prevent the damage from getting worse, so that some access along Wilsons Creek Rd is still available for residents and other motorists,’ he said.
Mr Holloway asked motorists to abide by the changed traffic conditions.
‘While the damage is assessed and we work out the most appropriate way to fix the road, we are requesting motorists to please ensure they do not drive along the affected area with a vehicle weighing more than five tonnes,’ he said.
‘Use of the road past the landslip by heavy vehicles is not considered safe and may ultimately lead to further damage being sustained and the road being completely blocked to all motorists.’