Coast Rd's 'root-canal' complete
NORTH Coast commuters will breathe a sigh of relief today as the Coast Rd at Lennox Head re-opens almost a month ahead of schedule.
The road, which was damaged in a landslide in January, was closed for urgent repairs in October to allow the road foundation to be excavated and rebuilt.
The closure of the Coast Rd limited access to one of Australia's most popular surf beaches and frustrated regular commuters between Lennox Head and Ballina.
Local business owners also criticised Ballina Shire Council for closing the road ahead of the busy Christmas period and suggested the works should have been postponed until the new year.
Ballina Mayor Phillip Silver said the shire's decision had been vindicated with the road opening ahead of its January deadline.
"I had described this project as root-canal work on a grand scale," he said.
"It was originally scheduled to finish next year but the staff came forward, looked at the weather forecast and thought they could get it done before Christmas and they have toiled like nobody's business.
"So the beneficiaries will mostly be North Creek Rd residents but also it will be safer for tourists and better for Lennox Head."
The cost of the project for this stage of the works was $1.35 million, with funds jointly contributed by State and Federal governments under Natural Disaster Recovery arrangements.
Ballina Shire Council group manager of civil services John Truman said it was a difficult task to repair the road because of its location on the side of a ridge.
"The embankment failure was literally underneath the road and down through the escarpment, so we had to remove all the foundation material, replace that and reconstruct on top of that again."
A 10m excavation had to be dug beneath the original road and 14,000cu m of material had to be removed.
A further 8500 tonnes of rock foundation and 10,000cu m of fill was used to build the embankment.
"The main difficulty was the sheer volume of earthworks required on a fairly constrained site and doing it within the time constraints," Mr Truman said.
"It's reinstated to fully engineered standard so we are delighted with the result."
Ballina Shire Council has provided its own funding to match an RTA grant for reconstructing the road pavement section of the Coast Rd north of the landslide.
This is due to be completed early next year.