Highway may be closed for week as workers clear debris
The Kings Highway will probably be closed for at least a week as workers try to clear rock and debris left on the road since a landslide on Friday.
The landslide left about 1400 tonnes of earth blocking the Kings Highway near Pooh Bear corner, west of Nelligen, on Friday afternoon.
The highway remains completely blocked in both directions, despite the efforts of council workers to clean the site up over the weekend.
The clearing of debris and removal of unstable trees from the mountain is not expected to be completed until halfway through the week.
Once the debris is cleared, authorities will install temporary rock fall protection barriers.
A Roads and Maritime Services spokeswoman said the road would not reopen until at least the end of the week, depending on the availability of building materials.
Eurobodalla Shire Council said it was doing all it could to re-open the highway.
''Eurobodalla Shire Council and Roads and Maritime Services are working together on getting the road re-opened as quickly as possible, and work crews have been at the site all weekend,'' the council said yesterday.
''Over the next few days, council work crews will continue to clear remaining rock and debris from the roadway.''
Motorists trying to get to the coast during the school holiday period have been forced on a lengthy detour along Nerriga Road, via Bungendore and Braidwood, to Nowra.
Heavy vehicles were urged to use the Hume or Snowy Mountains highways.
Local lifesavers said the landslide left beaches unusually empty on the weekend.
Far South Coast branch director Andrew Edmunds said the closure would give lifesavers a quiet end to the surf lifesaving season, which finishes on Wednesday.
But the landslide also cut off many of the 50 Canberra-based lifesavers from getting to the coast.
''It was a quiet weekend, we only had the one major incident all weekend, so patronage has been down across the board,'' he said.
''Obviously we had to get the local [lifesavers] to fill the void and step up for the weekend, and that was fine.''
Council workers have been permanently stationed at the Batemans Bay roundabout since the landslide to advise motorists of the closures.
Electronic traffic signs were placed at the roundabout about 6pm last night.
The landslide sparked renewed calls from the NRMA for upgrades to the Kings Highway.
The closure is also likely to cause a loss to local businesses this week. Hotels were reporting that Canberrans were cancelling bookings over the weekend, with many not prepared to drive the extra distance to get to the coast.
Geotechnicians were on scene yesterday, assessing the stability of the ground above the slip.
Those inspections found no cracking on the upper slope of the mountain.
Authorities are also using the closure of the road to repair damage from other minor slips.
Updated traffic information can be obtained from www.livetraffic.com or by contacting the Transport Management Centre on 132 701.