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Byron Shire
April 15, 2021

Downpour caused $1m damage to Byron’s roads

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The scene that greeted Wilsons Creek Road residents on January 1, after land including still-standing trees slipped over the road. Photo Michael Balson
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The heavy downpour that occurred in the early hours of New Year’s Day has caused more damage than was initially thought in the Byron Shire hinterland.

Geotechnical engineers have been assessing the damage to infrastructure at the Wilson’s Creek landslip site and a number of other affected locations including Coolamon Scenic Drive and Montecollum Road.

Byron’s acting infrastructure services director, Phil Warner, said estimates for repair works are around $1 million.

‘Crews have been able to clear most of the initial debris that came down during the storm,’ Mr WArner said.

‘Council is continuing to work on the Wilsons Creek Road landslips with the removal of a large amount of spoil and vegetation and it is anticipated two-way traffic movement will be possible later this week subject to a geotechnical review of the slope,’ he added.

Emergency clean-up works will continue on the hinterland roads over the coming weeks however Mr Warner said the impact on roads and the associated drainage infrastructure is quite extensive in some places.

Byron Shire Council has now submitted an application for just under $1 million in Natural Disaster funding to the state government.

‘This process can take approximately three months and in the meantime, council will continue to complete emergency works and make roads accessible. Further restorative works will be dependent on the outcome of the natural disaster funding assessment,’ Mr Warner said.

Motorists are urged to drive to road conditions and observe all signage and road controls in place for work crews.

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  1. If council undertook more regular mitigation works to keep hinterland roadside drains and gutters clear, ready for the eventual torrential downpour, the damage bill wouldn’t be so large. I have contacted council on numerous times for roadside drains full of leaves, sticks and branches. Sometimes cleaning takes place in a month or two to occur once notified, sometimes not at all. If drains are blocked, runoff is then going to go in unintended places and cause damage.

    These large rain downfalls are a part of life in this area. Regular (bi monthly perhaps) drain/gutter cleaning would prevent a lot of the damage, and probably cost a lot less than damage repairs after a storm.

    There is a free iPhone/Android smartphone App designed to let Council know of such problems. It is called “Snap Send Solve”. Take a photo of the issue, send it to council (the app intuitively knows which Council area you are in and can pinpoint the location of the issue on a map). Council will reply to you to confirm they have received your information.


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