Valley will never be the same

Lee Broom, Bede Spannagle and Graham Braun inspecting the works being carried out on the Goobarragandra Road and River.
Lee Broom, Bede Spannagle and Graham Braun inspecting the works being carried out on the Goobarragandra Road and River.

Reconstructing 650 different flood affected sites in the Tumut Shire, in a two-year, $20 million capital works project has been a huge task for the Tumut Shire Council.

To date ongoing works have been carried out in the Goobarragandra Valley. Great chunks of earth and road that were gouged away as the muddy torrent of debris-filled water roared down the Goobarragandra River have been replaced and the finishing touches are being worked upon.

Work replacing the Goodradigbee Bridge at Brindabella, the Grahamstown Bridge along with countless other projects have within the past 18 months been ticked off the list of Tumut Shire Council’s Project Director for the flood recovery work.

Whilst the valley will forever carry the scars from the March 2012 floods, the restoration works that extend deep into the valley have had a positive effect for those who travel the road each day and were impacted by the floods the most.

Pre-splitting blasts were used along a section of rock that contained granite veins in a section just past Camp Hudson in order to widen the road.

“The flood undermined the bank in that section of road with half of the road falling away into the river and leaving areas of sheer cliff,” Mr Spannagle said. “We had nowhere to move except into the rock-face so we will be able to make that section safer and bring it back to two lanes.

“There has been a huge amount of work carried out up the Goobarragandra Valley and we haven’t finished yet.”

Partnerships between the Tumut Shire Council and Murrumbidgee Catchment Authority (CMA) have also seen major restoration to some sections of the river.

The road and the river are both taking a slightly different path in places now and Mr Spannagle said whilst the council doesn’t expect to see another flood with the same intensity carry out the magnitude of damage in the future, the council was ensuring the works improve the conditions of the area.

“The road will in the end be far better than it was before the floods,” Mr Spannagle said. “Whilst the heavy trucks have had a detrimental impact on the road leading up the work sites, we secured an extra $1.9 million funding in July to address this.

“This road was never designed to handle the mass of machinery that has been needed to fix the upper end of the road.”

The recovery progress for the valley has been slow and arduous after the shire initially sped works through to ensure all residents could gain access to their properties. Modern engineering feats have been included in the rebuilding of the roads and bridges and environmental controls including anti-erosion mesh have also been used.

Next on the to-fix list is the Stony Creek Bridge. Work commenced this week on the small but necessary structure.

The Elm Grove area is also a hive of activity as the work progressively moves up the valley.

Popular picnic areas including Rock Flat, Camp Hudson and the Hume and Hovell recreational area are already being well utilised with work in those areas complete and the benefits being enjoyed by the general public.