Major roads to remain closed for months as repair bill soars31st March 2021
Across the state several major regional highways are closed due to landslides.
About 120 kilometres of the Oxley Highway between Walcha and Yarras, inland from Port Macquarie, is closed due to landslides.
Further north, almost 20 kilometres of Waterfall Way is closed between Bellingen and Dorrigo.
Jenolan Caves Road in the Central Tablelands is also blocked due to slope instability and debris.
Meanwhile, Mr Constance has issued a blunt warning for people to stay away from Sydney’s Hawkesbury River during the Easter holidays.
The region usually attracts thousands of people who waterski during holidays and weekends, but with significant flood damage Mr Constance said this activity was dangerous and disrespectful.
Maritime authorities will enforce a temporary 15-knot speed limit on the waterway until at least the end of the school holidays.
“Please just stay away. You’ve got septics that have ruptured, you’ve got debris everywhere,” Mr Constance said. “Be mindful that there are people in enormous pain and this is not a time for rubbernecking.”
Among those cleaning up is Brian Luttrell at Wisemans Ferry men’s shed.
Mr Luttrell, a foundation member of the shed, is a disaster veteran after losing his home to bushfires in 2001. He said the men’s shed will have to throw out many of the tools and equipment due to water damage.
“It was very devastating, especially after you’ve put that much work into it,” he said. “There’s not much you can do about it really.”
Barry “Barefoot Baz” Roberts, the president of the Wisemans Ferry Bowling Club, said floodwaters covered the bowling green and came within “four or five inches” of inundating the clubhouse.
“The local community has been fantastic bringing [supplies] in. We’ve distributed that much stuff around the district,” he said. “Food, clothes, you name it. I don’t know what we’re going to do with it.”
After a bleak couple of weeks, the bowling club is hosting a party on Saturday night to celebrate the water receding and the efforts of the community pulling together.
“I think we’ll just have a blow-out and party hard,” club secretary Margie Pratt said with a grin.
Josh Dye is a news reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.