Blue Mountains News

Cliff Drive expected to reopen in May, weather permitting

By Blue Mountains City Council
Posted: 4 May 2024
An aerial view of the culvert on Cliff Drive
Council expects to reopen Cliff Drive to traffic between Katoomba and Leura this month, weather permitting, after five extreme weather events in just four years caused massive damage in the area.

Replacement of the culvert that sat across Leura Falls Creek, necessary to open the road, was completed earlier this year after it was damaged by a one-in-50-year flooding event and landslip in 2020, flooding in 2021, and two natural disasters in 2022.

Additional work - including heavy patching of pavement sections, vegetation management, clearing drainage channels, footpath slip rectification, sign cleaning and guard post replacement and repositioning - was also completed.  

The new, larger culvert withstood the most recent flooding event on 5 April 2024, however the excessive rainfall caused intense volumes of floodwater to dislodge dissipater blocks, and erosion damaged sandstone maintenance stairs.

Council’s contractor has now assessed the damage and repair works are expected to be completed at the culvert this month, weather permitting.

Cliff Drive has been closed to vehicles between Gordon Road and Solitary Restaurant since 2020 following the substantial landslip above the road, resulting in extensive damage to 5,000sqm of land and the closure of roads and walking tracks. 

Council opened Leura Cascades to pedestrians and cyclists in June 2021, but Cliff Drive remained closed to vehicles while the replacement of the damaged culvert and restoration work was being completed. 

The 5 April natural disaster had a significant impact on the Blue Mountains, with more than 200mm of rain falling across the City.

The associated massive quantity of water flow damaged Council assets including Echo Point, Glenbrook Oval, and nine buildings across the City. Costs to remediate the damage currently remain undetermined.

There was also a major landslide at Megalong Road, Megalong Valley.

Blue Mountains Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said: “Multiple natural disasters from 2020 to the end of 2023 left a damage bill to the City’s infrastructure of around $400 million.?

“It’s been an incredibly difficult period for the City.”

Council is continuing to pursue coverage of repair and remediation costs through Natural Disaster Recovery funding options, insurance, and where possible, additional grant funding.

Repair and remediation will be undertaken based on prioritisation, available budget and resources, and will be scheduled accordingly.

Further upgrades are planned for the Leura Cascades Recreational Precinct. You can read more about the project at here

During these ongoing upgrades, the old amenities at Leura Cascades will remain closed.  

Works on the new amenities building and car park are scheduled to start in the second half of 2024 and are expected to take approximately 18 months to complete. 

 
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