Koppin Yarrat Road closed - too costly for too few

GREATER Taree City councillors voted to formalise the existing closure of Koppin-Yarratt Road at Wednesday (March 19) night's council meeting, due to prohibitive costs to repair the very low traffic volume route.

The narrow and winding road between Comboyne and Upper Lansdowne has fallen victim to successive storm-related disasters, resulting in damage to the point that the ailing road has become cost-prohibitive to repair and maintain.

"Significant funds would need to be committed to upgrade and 'future proof' the road against further landslips," mayor, Paul Hogan said.

"We know very well that this high cost cannot be justified on this route, especially when there are alternative routes available to motorists, and very few users of this road."

"There has been minimal community impact since the road became impassable after the last of many landslips, in 2011," Cr Hogan said.

"(This week's) decision simply formalised the physical closure from the most recent landslip."

But the decision wasn't made lightly with extensive discussion taking place between councillors and council staff.

Some of the issues raised included a legal closure as opposed to a forced closure, what kind of barriers would be put in place in a forced closure, how this would be funded and whether or not vehicular access was needed for the three properties that adjoin that stretch of road.

There has been no vehicular access on the four kilometre stretch of Koppin Yarrat Road since 2011.

Council was given $800,000 in natural disaster funding from the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS, to assist with repairs to the road, however that amount did not come close to properly repairing the stretch and therefore has not been used.

The funds will now be returned to the RMS, but a portion of that funding will be used to pay for the new signage and fencing.

The issue of access to the three properties was quashed because there are no dwellings on the properties and access has been gained at other points since 2011.

Once administrative processes are complete, including community notification, the road will be signposted as closed.

It is possible that the corridor may be used as a public thoroughfare should the need arise in the future.