New South Wales, News, Road upgrades

Permanent repair work underway on Hunter’s Putty Road

After being badly damaged during a severe weather event in 2022 that resulted in multiple landslips, work has begun on permanent repairs to this key transport route.

The disaster recovery work will include the use of steel nails up to 12 metres in length, which will be drilled into the steep slopes next to the important regional thoroughfare southwest of Mount Thorley.

Repairs at nine locations along this three-kilometre stretch have begun this week and are expected to be complete by mid-2024, weather permitting.

The length of the individual slopes range from around 60 metres to 190 metres. Different stabilisation techniques will be used along the section, including rock fill.

“This work requires the use of fall restraint systems including elevated work platforms and, in some cases, workers will need to abseil off the face of the slope,” explained Federal Member for Hunter, Dan Repacholi.

“In addition to stabilising the slopes, work will see the reinstatement of a one-metre wide shoulder and installation of new guardrail for motorists’ safety.”

Some areas crews will also feature a technique called ‘shotcreting’, where concrete is applied to the embankment face in spray form.

Transport for NSW has been managing this section of Putty Road following the 2022 damage, allowing the essential route to remain open to traffic by installing lane closures and traffic control.

“This work is one of a range of recovery activities being undertaken along Putty Road reconnecting Upper Hunter communities,” said Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt.

“As crews continue to work through and complete works like bridge repairs, clearing landslip sites, repairing erosion and installing new drainage, the beginning of soil stabilisation works along this section marks a significant milestone on the road’s restoration.”

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Jenny Aitchison said the start of construction at Putty Road is a welcome step forward in getting the road network rebuilt after devastating natural disasters.

“Importantly, this work is not about just rebuilding roads back to the standard they were at before the disasters — we’re also making sure they’re better protected against future landslips,” she said.

“This work to build back better will include a technique known as ‘soil nailing’, where specialist crews drill holes into the soil surrounding Putty Road so steel bars can be inserted and grout filled to stabilise the ground and make the road more resilient.”

The repairs are being jointly funded by the Australian and NSW Governments under Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

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