Councils count costs of storms

CONTINUING heavy rain and saturated ground conditions are creating headaches for regional councils as they struggle to contain landslips and manage deteriorating roads across the Northern Rivers.

While local councils wait for the wet spell to ease so they can properly assess the damage, the cost isexpected to reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Lismore City Council executive director of infrastructure services, Garry Hemsworth, said the council was dealing with three serious land slippages at Lismore, Jiggi and Rock Valley.

“The Wyrallah Road slippage in Lismore is still moving at about 20mm a day, which is a concern,” he said.

“Being so wet it is really difficult to get in and do any rectification work, but we are monitoring it.

“We’re in the process of getting quotes and designs, and we have a specialist geotechnical engineer working with the developer adjacent to the slippage to try andresolve the issue.”

Council crews are also struggling to keep up with road repairs as new potholes appear almost daily.

“It’s not very effective trying to repair potholes in the wet so we’re temporarily patching the worst ones,” Mr Hemsworth said.

“We’re asking motorists to bepatient, drive with caution and drive to the conditions.”

Byron Shire Council executive manager of community infrastructure, Phil Holloway, said the council’s work crews were inspecting wet-weather damage yesterday.

“We’ve had one minor slip on Coolamon Scenic Drive, which was cleared on Monday afternoon,” he said. “Other than that, it’s been the normal run of potholes and the washout of road edges and shoulders.”

Mr Holloway said while wet-weather maintenance was considered routine, the challenge would be in the coming weeks.

“The catchments are full, the water table is high and the ground is extremely wet. If the rain persists for an extended period of time, we will find our maintenance resources significantly stretched,” he said.

Infrastructure managers at Ballina, Richmond Valley and Kyogle councils painted a similar picture yesterday.

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