When will the Lions Rd open? Repairs like hospital triage

Susanna Freymark

It will be months before the Lions Rd is fully open.

Kyogle Council’s general manager Graham Kennett said there were six serious landslips affecting the Gradys Creek and Lions roads.

“Council received advice last week that funding had been approved through Disaster Recovery Funding arrangements for investigation and design works to repair those slips,” Mr Kennett said.

“This is expected to be quite complex and will require geotechnical reports.”

The process is expected to take some months to finalise.

The Lions Rd is open only to local traffic.

Kyogle Council has identified more than 1200 items of damage plus 70 major landslips across the road and bridge network caused by the February-March floods.

“Council does not have the resources, materials or workforce to fix all road failures immediately, so we are focusing on addressing the most critical problems first, while waiting for Disaster Recovery  Funding to be approved,” Mr Kennett said.

So far, Council has been approved for $17 million to fix just 300 of the 1200 items of damage.

Mr Kennett likened the process council faced “like an emergency room at a hospital, (council) is triaging its response to this unprecedented natural disaster.”

“Immediately after the floods, we gave priority to re-establishing basic access to residents completely cut off and repairing defects that could be life threatening such as landslides.”

“Our second priority was providing access to agribusiness reliant on feed and other deliveries to maintain animal welfare (such as piggeries, poultry farms, and feedlots) or milk retrieval from dairy farms.”

With disaster relief funding starting to come in, the council is now turning its focus to all-wheel-drive and heavy vehicle access across the road network.

“We are starting with our high traffic regional roads that link our communities, then moving on to major collector-catchment roads that service a locality, school bus routes, and then local access roads (small, low traffic dead end roads that service a small number of residents),” Mr Kennett said.

“Council is also doing what it can, with the resources available, to undertake pothole patching when possible.

“However, while roads with numerous potholes are an inconvenience and the cause of discomfort and driver frustration, they are not generally considered dangerous if negotiated at an appropriate speed. In some localised cases, an appropriate speed may be as slow as a crawl.”

None of this is good news for residents but the task of repairing roads is a mammoth one for all councils in the Northern Rivers.

“Due to the extent of the damage to the road network, it will be several years before all repairs are completed,” Mr Kennett said.

“This is not ideal, but it is the reality of a natural disaster of this kind. 

“We ask our community for their ongoing patience and understanding as we continue the recovery over the  coming months and years.”

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