Flood-damaged Richmond Valley road to be built back better

NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery Janelle Saffin says $3 million of a $15.8-million Naughtons Gap Road rebuild project in Richmond Valley will go towards betterment works, making the road more resilient for future natural disasters.
Media Release

CONSTRUCTION is about to start on Richmond Valley Council’s $15.8 million Naughtons Gap Road resilience project at Naughton’s Gap, north-east of Casino, providing better access for locals after a series of severe weather events.

The road has been closed since March 2021 due to the level of flood damage and landslips at the time. Landslips were further impacted in February and March 2022 flood events.

Over $3 million of the total Naughtons Gap project cost will go towards betterment works, making the road more resilient.

These betterment works will see catch fencing constructed as a measure to contain future falling debris and absorb its impact, and drainage improvements made on the northern end of the project, to assist in preventing further long road closures during future severe weather events. The project will also involve essential public asset repair works to reconstruct the roadway across three landslip zones.

Betterment works have been funded by the Albanese and Minns Governments through the Regional Roads Transport and Recovery Package, which is investing $312 million to help local councils in northern NSW rebuild road and transport infrastructure projects in disaster-impacted communities.

Importantly, the Package helps communities ‘build-back-better’ by ensuring infrastructure damaged by floods is rebuilt stronger, better, and more able to withstand the challenge posed by future natural disasters.

The project is due to be completed in late 2024.

Quotes attributable to Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt:

“The Albanese Government is committed to making sure Australia is more prepared for natural disasters, so communities can respond and recover quicker. That’s why projects like this are so important.

“By investing now to improve the quality and durability of Naughtons Gap Road, we can hopefully help to minimise the damage from future events, reducing the need to close the road each time severe weather hits.

“The Albanese Government is pleased to work with the Minns Government and Richmond Valley Council to deliver this project.

Quotes attributable to NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison:

“Research shows that for every dollar invested in risk mitigation or betterment projects, up to $10 is saved in recovery, so the Naughtons Gap Road resilience project is an investment well worth making.

“We can’t stop natural disasters from happening, but we can and should do everything possible to help communities get back on their feet as quickly as possible and reduce the impact during future events.

“Keeping communities connected or helping them to connect again more quickly after an event is vital in disaster recovery.”

Quotes attributable to NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery and Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin:

“The betterment policy will change the situation so that roads are built back to better withstand disasters and to improved standards. 

“It never made any sense to build back or repair a road or bridge as it had been instead of making it as durable as it possibly could be.

“I know that local councils will be as pleased as I am to be able to secure betterment funds to do the job well.”

Quotes attributable to Richmond Valley Mayor Robert Mustow:

“The Naughtons Gap Road is a vital transport link for the Richmond Valley, serving local agricultural enterprises and a substantial rural/residential area in North Casino.

“Richmond Valley Council has been working to find a long-term solution for stabilising this road, after two major landslips saw it closed to through traffic for an extended period. Our community is delighted a solution to this complex problem is finally at hand.

“This work involves installing more than 120 bored piers into the rockface at depths of up to eight metres to reinforce the roadway following significant flood damage.

“Not only will the road be restored to full service, but the additional betterment funding will help to strengthen the rebuilt section from future flooding events.”