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South Gippsland roads are crumbling


DANGER AHEAD: Landslides, like this one on Glen Alvie Road, near the Glen Alvie Recreation Reserve, are happening too often.

MATT DUNN

 

SOUTH Gippsland Shire ratepayers will fork out more than $1 million for roads repairs, in the wake of storms that caused landslides and flooding. 

But the recent assault on our crumbling roads system is something planners expect to see far more often, with the State Government and local councils preparing the local roads network for the worst effects of climate change – not to mention an increasing financial burden.

“We’re working with local communities, including in Gippsland, to not only reduce emissions from transport but plan the best approach to combat the effects of climate change,” a government spokesperson told The Star.

“Along with reducing emissions from transport, it’s crucial that we carefully plan mitigation work now, to give us the best chance of reducing the costs in the future.”

The spokesperson said the region was one of those most vulnerable to projected sea level rise, increased storm surges and wave changes.

Two Wild Dog Valley residents said the landslide that saw the dramatic collapse of a retaining wall on a section of Wild Dog Valley Road last week (past the Mt Eccles road intersection) could easily have claimed lives, with school buses, milk tankers and local vehicles all using the road.

They said the same dangers were present at a similar landslide on nearby Mt Eccles Road, close to Mt Eccles Hall.

The section of gravel along Wild Dog Valley Road was graded just days before the collapse.

The strip has a vexed history, with a previous collapse leading to the construction in 2011 of the now destroyed retaining wall. 

The works, which totalled $242,000, were funded by the State Government’s Natural Disaster Financial Assistance program.

Council’s Fred Huitema could not say when the road would be reopened, since “a geotechnical investigation needs to be carried out before an appropriate treatment can be decided”.

“Our treatment actions and timeframes depend on the type and extent of damage that has occurred,” he said.

“Some damaged sections of road can be repaired as soon as weather and ground conditions permit.

“Other issues, such as significant landslips, may require geotechnical investigation, design, and engagement of specialist construction contractors before repair works can take place.

“This process is expected to take some months before all sections of road are repaired.”

A resident said the expense of repairs could not be justified, especially if it was destined to be destroyed again.

“Why spend all that money on repairs and rebuilding? This bit of road is not needed. It’s a plan that needs to be on the table,” the resident said.

The resident said there were other detours available to locals.

But Wild Dog Valley resident Dianne Brew believes the road should remain open, saying it had been “a great link”.

Meanwhile, Bass Coast Shire Council has started emergency repair work on large landslip that occurred on Glen Alvie Road, Glen Alvie on August 9.

Work is expected to take up to four weeks to complete, subject to favourable weather conditions. A Bass Coast Council spokesperson said the repairs would be absorbed in its current road budget.

The works will involve the construction of a retaining wall, placement and compaction of structural fill, road pavement construction and sealing works.

As far as future goes, South Gippsland Shire Council is using the Australian Rainfall and Runoff Guidelines, which were revised in recent years and allow for the increased intensity of storm events resulting from climate change.

“The increased flows from these storm events impact on new council road capital works budgets which have a storm-water drainage component,” council’s Fred Huitema said.

Bass Coast Shire Council’s Jamie Sutherland said climate change had been factored into its 2019-23 Road Asset Management Plan.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=29862

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