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Clarence Valley Council is working hard to re-open the Armidale Road after infrastructure was severely damaged by bushfires and subsequent flooding. The road re-opened just before Christmas when fire damaged bridges were replaced by temporary structures allowing community access and thousands of dangerously burned trees to be cleared. However, the road was closed again following torrential rainfall which caused flooding that washed away the temporary access measures.
Council’s General Manager, Ashley Lindsay said, “We put side tracks in place for residents to have access but during the heavy rain and flood event in February these sidetracks were damaged and washed away, once again cutting off access along the Armidale Road for residents and road users.”
Several external factors have unfortunately caused delays in reinstating the temporary access at Hortons Creek and Clouds Creek, including more rain.
“Weather permitting we hope to have a crane in place soon to carry out the recovery of the temporary bridge at Clouds Creek, with the restoration of the side track to be completed by the end of this week”.
“We understand the impact that this is having on the community who live along the Armidale Road and we appreciate everyone’s patience in this disaster recovery process. I want to reassure residents that public safety and safety of our staff remains our number one priority. As soon as the side tracks are in place and any debris from the floods has been removed we will be able to re-open the road.”
The immediate focus is to re-open the road for the community with the temporary sidetracks. Council are making the case to the NSW Government to replace the bridges with constructions that meet modern engineering standards. This will see the wooden bridges replaced with more robust concrete structures that are better able to withstand bushfires and flooding
For Hortons Creek Bridge, a new prefabricated structure has already been delivered to a holding yard and contractors have been engaged for the construction work. The foundation construction on this new concrete bridge will start in a matter of weeks. The permanent concrete replacement of the bridge at Clouds Creek will take much longer to complete due to its length and complexity but Council is working through the investigation and design work as quickly as possible.
Costs of the damages will be covered by the bushfire and flooding Natural Disaster declarations under the State Government Guidelines.
Image: Clouds Creek bridge