15 March 2024

UPDATED: Bulli Pass to close at night for 5 months for extensive landslip repair works

| Zoe Cartwright
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Black and white photo of a horse and buggy on Bulli Pass

It’s been a long time since anyone took a horse and buggy down Bulli Pass. More repairs to the notorious stretch of road will kick off on 27 February. Photo: From the collections of Wollongong City Libraries and the Illawarra Historical Society P03861.

UPDATED 15 March, 11 am: Bulli Pass has been closed to heavy vehicles following a landslip during work to stabilise the road. The pass has been closed at night to all vehicles from Sundays to Thursdays since 27 February for the extensive stabilisation work. Effective from today (15 March) vehicles over 4.5 tonne should use the M1 Princes Motorway, while all southbound cars will be limited to 40 km/h while emergency repairs are carried out on the damaged road surface.

Feb 21: Bulli Pass repairs will kick off on Tuesday (27 February), almost two years after record-breaking rainfall caused significant landslip damage.

Work will result in up to five months of weekly night-time road closures, despite Transport for NSW (Transport) committing multiple crews to conduct the repairs.

The repairs will be carried out when traffic volumes are lightest, from 7:30 pm to 4:30 am, Sundays to Thursdays, to minimise the impact on motorists.

Detours will be in place during the road closures either via Lawrence Hargrave Drive or the M1 Princes Motorway and Memorial Drive, adding up to 20 minutes to journeys.

READ ALSO UPDATED: One dead, three hurt after horror smash at the bottom of Bulli Pass

“The total work area required to repair four landslip sites is about the size of two Olympic swimming pools,” a Transport spokesperson said.

“These landslips occurred when the Illawarra escarpment received almost five times the average monthly rainfall in March 2022, and then eight and a half times the June average.”

Three landslip sites are located at the top section of Bulli Pass between the M1 Princes Motorway and the hairpin bend, with another about one kilometre downhill from the hairpin bend.

The road must be closed in both directions overnight for five nights per week for a period of five months while the work is carried out at the sites on the top section of road.

Member for Heathcote Maryanne Stuart said the nature of Bulli Pass made the repairs complex.

“Transport has engaged contractors with specialist skills and equipment to complete the work,” she said.

“The steep sites will involve use of large machinery, such as long-reach excavators, and workers abseiling on the slope to carry out some of the repairs.

“The conditions of the road and work involved create a unique set of risks and to keep motorists and workers safe, there needs to be a combination of full road closures and partial lane closures while the work is carried out.”

READ ALSO Could Bulli finally get a bypass? NSW Government says ‘maybe’

A Transport spokesperson said the organisation had repaired more than half of the 100 landslip sites on state roads across the Illawarra and South Coast caused by the severe weather in 2022.

Minister for the Illawarra and the South Coast Ryan Park said the Bulli Pass works would make the vital road more resilient in future extreme weather.

“Transport for NSW will be installing more than 500 long steel rods, called soil nails, that will add strength to the mountain slope and then applying over 1600 sqm of spray-on concrete, known as shotcrete, to prevent further erosion,” he said.

“The crews will also install new drains, repair damaged road pavement and replace guardrails, as needed and help protect this important corridor for the Illawarra.”

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