5 May 2024

No 'clear and immediate solution' for Helensburgh's storm-damaged roads

| Zoe Cartwright
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Vera Street in Helensburgh suffered extensive damage during the April storm disaster.

Vera Street in Helensburgh suffered extensive damage during the April storm disaster. Photo: Wollongong City Council.

Work to repair flood damage to Vera and Wilson streets in Helensburgh will take some time, Wollongong City Council says.

The roads have been closed since the storm disaster in April when sections of the road surface were washed away and the adjoining embankments were eroded.

The closure means the carpark at Helensburgh Station is inaccessible until the roads can be fixed.

That project is not as simple as a standard road repair, as the storm also exposed a Sydney Water pressurised sewer main. The council cannot begin road repairs until the main is secured.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said council was taking a phased approach to repairing Vera Street due to its complicated condition.

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“The damage presents many challenges and there’s not a clear and immediate solution in terms of fast-tracked repairs,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

“We’re working with key agencies, including Sydney Water, to discuss the best approach to the repair works both now and in the immediate future. Anything we do must be well engineered for safety and to withstand any future weather events, which could come at any time.

“We recognise Vera Street provides access to the Helensburgh railway train station carpark and its closure has an impact on commuters and residents.

“We’re focused on works that will allow us to reopen one lane for safe access as soon as possible while also developing a scope to manage the damaged embankment and stabilise that area so we can repair the road itself.”

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Wollongong City Council General Manager Greg Doyle said the damage to Helensburgh was not the only long-term damage wrought by the storm.

Although the immediate cleanup is complete, there are a number of longer-term issues that will continue to affect the community for some time.

“For those that use Helensburgh railway train station, it’s a very real concern,” Mr Doyle said.

“I assure those residents the council is working to ensure people can once again easily access the train station. We’re doing this as we also look at how we can repair this site longer term so it’s more resilient in the future.’’

Residents are encouraged to follow on-site signage and to be mindful there may be changes to parking and street access in the area. These will be marked out with temporary signage.

The council is also looking at alternative ‘kiss and drop’ and parking locations to facilitate easier access to the station. In the meantime, it’s best to access the train station via Wilsons Creek Road.

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