27 May 2021
Major structural damage sustained during the March wet weather event has forced the ongoing closure of Barrington Tops Forest Road due to the high risk the roads might collapse.
Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Senior Manager Forest Stewardship Kathy Lyons said repairing the road was a priority and engineering assessments had been fast tracked.
“Barrington Tops Forest Road is the only access road to the Barrington Tops State Forests and National Parks from the East Coast and is also used as an alternative access route between Gloucester and Scone, so it is absolutely a top priority for repair,” Ms Lyons said.
“This is a natural surface road and unfortunately significant flooding rain across the Mid- and North Coasts in March caused substantial structural damage. We are working as quickly as we can to assess the extent of damage and develop a repair program, and have engaged engineers to assist.”
Protection Forester Mick Wilson said detailed technical surveys and significant structural works will be required to repair the damage.
“Due to the nature of the damage, we must complete detailed engineering surveys before we can develop a plan to restore Barrington Tops Road. This will involve surveying the entire area, recording and measuring tension cracks and slumpage, carrying out geotechnical drilling and analysis of core samples to develop a 3D profile and testing soil properties like density and strength,” Mr Wilson said.
“These are the equivalent of the x-rays, MRIs and blood tests that a surgeon needs before performing surgery.
“A real challenge is that the site is steep, unstable and very wet, heading into winter. We will use the information to prepare a detailed plan for construction and remediation and we’ll have to work with the weather.
“We have a team of very experienced road builders and will commence repairs as soon as possible.
“In the short term the road is at high risk of collapse, so it has been closed with physical barriers to protect the community’s safety.
“We understand the importance of this road to the local community and visitors but we cannot stress enough how unsafe it is with currently sustained damage. Please adhere to all road closures, signs and barriers and avoid the area until repairs are complete.”
Road closures are listed on the Forestry Corporation website as well as Live Traffic NSW and on signs in the forest.
Media contact: 0408779903