Existing closures on Waterfall Way are extensive and Bellingen Shire Council staff continue to work with Transport for NSW (TfNSW) to prepare for recovery works which may commence later this week, subject to weather conditions and further geotechnical and environmental investigations. Advice received from TfNSW is that closures are likely to be in place for a minimum of two weeks.
There are 6 major landslips identified that spread from Myers Bluff (east of Thora) to Sherrard Falls. (The attached map indicates the estimated locations). An existing slip at Gordonville Cutting has already been addressed. The size and number of slips has made it very challenging for crews to access and with continued rainfall, has limited ability for staff to work safely.
It is anticipated that priority recovery works will focus on clearing Waterfall Way at Sherrard Falls to allow access for emergency and essential services vehicles to move between Dorrigo and Bellingen via alternative managed routes along Summervilles Rd.
Although council and Transport for NSW prioritised a Geotech assessment of the slips, substantial additional rainfall means that further Geotech and environmental assessment is needed, and that this is being expedited. In addition, Council staff are assessing the alternative route via Summervilles Rd today for safe and appropriate access. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.
Continued rainfall has also seen some further closures on the local road network with coastal areas becoming more affected and our community is encouraged to drive to the conditions and exercise caution if it becomes necessary to travel on the local road network.
Access to the wider road network is also currently constrained by floodwaters but extensive damage is expected across transport infrastructure; particularly in the Kalang region which has experienced greater flood impacts over the last 48hrs.
Council’s Asset Team are continually re-assessing road conditions during and post this severe weather event and are prioritising road maintenance and repair activities to ensure essential access is maintained where possible.
Ultimately, that means Council’s Operations staff will continue to rank and schedule these activities based on a variety of factors including road user safety, traffic speed, traffic volumes and type and road serviceability.
Further, Council encourages all road network users within our Shire to avoid all unnecessary travel during the roll-out of these prioritised road maintenance and repair activities and thanks you in advance for your patience during these challenging times.
Council also encourages our community to regularly access our Shire’s Disaster Dashboard, by simply clicking here or by going to the Bellingen Shire Council’s website at www.bellingen.nsw.gov.au and click on the Disaster Dashboard link prominently located on the website’s Home Page.
Also note, when viewing the Disaster Dashboard please ensure you click on the ‘Update to New Version’ icon which is the downward facing arrow located in the top left-hand corner of the Disaster Dashboard home page beside the ‘Cloud’ weather icon.
In addition, when viewing Council’s Flood Camera network please be aware that the Network’s long-term battery charging capacity and functionality have been impacted by the length of the current severe weather event and intermittent Telstra Mobile Network connectivity issues relating to signal interference. Council is currently investigating opportunities to upgrade the network to address these challenges and will liaise with the Camera Network’s service provider to address these onsite issues subject to weather conditions.
Due to the impacts of adverse weather conditions, Bellingen Shire Council’s Customer Service Centre was operating under modified arrangements with staff working remotely to support our community. The Customer Service Centre has re-opened under normal operating hours to provide customers with face-to-face access to the range of Council related transactions and services.
Dorrigo residents please note, you can now also access a Council Customer Service Centre representative located outside the Dorrigo IGA Supermarket this week between 11am and 1pm to assist with your Council related inquiries.
Council’s Resilience Officers have also been working with the Neighbourhood Care Network to reactivate the www.bellingenshireconnects.com.au and the SMS messaging system to provide an avenue for sharing key updates. Information is also available there for assistance for residents including loss of income, rural support and mental health due to direct impacts of the local floods. Community Resilience Officers can be contacted on 6655 1121 or via Council 6655 7000 should anyone want information, advice or support.
Further Council’s three Branch Libraries are also providing updated information as it becomes readily available and to support universal access to primary medical and mental health services for flood-affected residents in the coming days,
Details of how the community can donate to support the local and wider communities impacted (via GIVIT) and what support is available to those impacted (which is being updated regularly as new assistance is announced) can be found at www.bellingenshireconnects.com.au within the Flooding 2021 section.
Additional information as provided by the SES is as follows:
- For emergency help in floods and storms, call the NSW State Emergency Service on 132 500. In life threatening situations call triple zero (000) immediately.
- Residents of low-lying areas near the river should keep an active watch on the flood waters.
- Keep in contact with your neighbours.
- Farmers on low lying land close to rivers and creeks are urged to monitor livestock, pumps and other equipment. Waste and chemical containers should be located well above predicted flood levels.
- Never walk, drive, play or ride through floodwaters. If it’s flooded, forget it.
- Motorists should avoid driving through flood waters, which may have washed away road surfaces and could be deeper or faster flowing than they look.
For more information: