Coordinated effort to fix flood-damaged roads

A section of Lawrence Road at Southgate is the latest to have Essential Public Asset Restoration (EPAR) funding approved under the joint Commonwealth and State government funded Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

This means Clarence Valley Council will be able to design and fully reconstruct this section of road to current engineering standards at no cost to the ratepayer.

“The DRFA is an important program that eases financial strain on disaster-impacted councils by cost shifting road network repair away from the rate payer,” Clarence Valley Council Director Works and Civil Jamie Fleeting said.

“To be granted EPAR status is a time consuming process, with Council required to collate documentation to demonstrate the damage to roads is a direct result of the flooding that occurred under the declared natural disaster event. Once funding is approved, these large-scale projects then require extensive preconstruction investigations including geotechnical assessments, pavement designs and dilapidation surveys (where construction works are in the vicinity of adjoining properties).

“In the meantime, there well be the need for a number of temporary interventions, such as pothole patching, until we can undertake the full pavement upgrades. In the case of Lawrence Road, this section has been heavily sign-posted since June, including a 60kph speed limit and rough surface warning signs, and crews have this month completed the fourth round of emergency patching since June.”

Some recovery works will take place prior to Christmas, with permanent reconstruction works expected to commence in early 2023.

Lawrence Road 03.JPG

The DRFA came into place in 2018 to help communities recover from eligible disasters. Councils can apply for funding for the estimated cost of repair of damaged essential public assets such as roads, bridges, footpaths, pedestrian bridges, culverts, levees and stormwater infrastructure under Category B of the DRFA.

Council has a number of EPAR projects already completed, which include:

  • McIntyres Lane drainage improvement
  • Shipmans Road culvert upgrade
  • Kangaroo Creek Road culvert upgrade
  • Wooli Road culvert upgrade
  • 5.25km of restored pavement across 12 sections of Armidale Road at Nymboida and Clouds Creek carried out by Transport for NSW
  • Gardiners Road, Amos Road and Palmers Channel South Bank Road at Palmers Channel
  • School Road, O’Keefes Lane and Gillies Lane at Palmers Island

RELATED ARTICLE: Mountain of work on Armidale Road

Armidale Road Nymboida.JPG

Other approved projects that are currently being investigated and designed are:

  • Six Mile Lane bridge approaches
  • Tallawudjah Creek Bridge approaches and stream canalisation
  • Tallawudjah Creek Road box culvert upgrade
  • Wilcox Bridge replacement
  • Armidale Road Hortons Creek drainage and road improvements
  • Armidale Road Sandy Creek headwall extensions and shoulder works
  • Patemans Road culvert upgrade and road improvement
  • Sandy Crossing Wooli
  • Sandy Swamp causeway augmentation
  • Marine Parade Yamba
  • Frames Bridge

“So far the total claim among Clarence Valley and the other six Northern Rivers councils impacted by the February/March 2022 flood disaster has collectively reached $4.9 billion and is forecast to increase as more areas are identified and become eligible for funding under the disaster claim,” Mr Fleeting said.

Public assets such as ovals, playgrounds, showgrounds, skate parks and swimming pools are not considered essential under these arrangements.

The Disaster Recovery responses are categorised into three criteria:

  • EMERGENCY: Urgent activities carried out within three months of the disaster necessary to temporarily restore essential public assets to an acceptable level of operation and support the immediate recovery of a community, such as re-establishing vehicle access to homes. Emergency works include initial grading, pothole repairs, temporary gravel re-sheeting, replacement of rock, and traffic management. Given the scale of the 2022 flood event there were a lot of works which came under this category.
  • IMMEDIATE: Reconstruction works to essential public assets. A more permanent fix, immediate works are ordinarily completed within three months of a disaster, but given the scale of the flood disaster the seven Northern Rivers councils including Clarence Valley were issued an extension to the end of the 2022 calendar year. These works are carried out after emergency works are completed.
  • ESSENTIAL (EPAR): Reconstruction works to return essential public assets to their pre-disaster function in a period up to 24 months after the disaster. Many larger jobs that require detailed design work and a significant amount of time to complete come under this category. The first of these for the Clarence Valley started in August, with approximately $3.6 million in reconstruction works carried out on Armidale Road.

/Public Release. View in full here.