THE clean-up and repair bill following the weekend flood across the Greater Taree City area has reached the million dollar mark and still counting.
"Our best-guess estimate to perform the immediate clean-up, the temporary repairs and general restoration works at this point is well in excess of $1 million", council's senior leader infrastructure services, Stephen Yam said yesterday morning.
But this figure was rising almost by the hour, as floodwaters continued to recede and leave in their wake more evidence of destruction and damage.
Executive leader service delivery, Ron Posselt said "As we clean-up and the water recedes, we will have a better idea of just how extensive the damage actually is, but at this point, we are certain the bill will be well over the $1 million mark".
It was the second weekend in a row the Manning region was hammered by wind and deluged with floodwaters. Unlike the previous weekend, however, this latest event has seen Greater Taree City added to the list of local government areas across NSW officially declared natural disaster areas. (See separate stories).
As in previous disasters, once again the greatest impact is in rural areas, most significantly Upper Lansdowne, Mt Coxcombe, Killabakh, Mooral Creek, Warrawillah, Hillville, Possum Brush, Cundle Flat, Dyers Crossing, Hannam Vale, Moto, Caparra, Bobin Creek, Killabakh Creek and Nowendoc.
Four landslides have been reported so far, and the approaches to more than 20 bridges have simply disappeared.
Council's first priority with work already underway yesterday was ensuring access for people to leave their properties to go about their lives, Mr Yam said.
"We've had lots of washouts and lots of bridge approaches are gone."
He gave just some examples:
o Comboyne Road - one medium landslide, road totally impassable, also lots of trees and storm debris
o Koppin Yarratt Road one minor landslide
o Bulga Road (to Elands) two minor landslides
o Mt Coxcombe Road four bridges with approaches washed out
o Warrawillah Road "We repaired the approaches to two concrete bridges there just last week, after the February flood event, and both are now washed out again. This time around, it has also affected approaches to two causeways." Yesterday there were still many areas across the region council could not access, in order to inspect the damage.
Cundle Flat and Nowendoc were just two examples Mr Yam named.
The urban areas have suffered too, with flooding to the known troublespots including Railway Street, High Street North and River Street in Taree, and damage there still to be assessed.
There was minimal impact in Wingham, which suffered several short-term access closures including Peter Garrett Bridge on Queen Street North and Belbourie Bridge on Gloucester Road. Again the major access closure was the Bight Bridge on Wingham-Tinonee Road, which council estimated would possibly re-open about midday today.
"Other areas across the city have suffered minimal impact, mainly potholes," Mr Yam said.
Most of the regional roads held up well in the latest deluge, with the Bucketts Way, Lakes Way, Old Bar Road and Old Pacific Highway sustaining pothole damage, minor washouts and minor road closures.