Jenolan Caves Road to reopen at Hampton
25 May 2021
Motorists travelling along Jenolan Caves Road will save a 60-kilometre detour when the road reopens at Hampton on Wednesday.
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said crews had worked hard to restore access after heavy rain of 346mm over five days in March caused landslips and erosion along the slopes, making the road unacceptably dangerous for motorists.
“We know how important a connection this road is for locals and the freight industry, and reopening this section will mean motorists from Sydney can now travel to the area without having to go via Lithgow and Bathurst,” Mr Toole said.
“Although reduced speed limits will apply, road users will now have single-lane alternating access through this section in both directions, which will save a lot of time detouring around the winding road that has been built to follow the mountain range.
“We have had a crew of about 20 people working tirelessly to get this section of road back on track, stabilising the upslope using techniques like soil nailing and hydro-mulching.
“Soil nailing involves drilling steel rods through the face of the slope to lock into the rock. A mesh facing is then applied to the slopes to join all the soil nails together so it behaves as a complete unit and holds the soil bank.
“Hydro-mulching is carried out after the stabilisation work with the aim of using plants to knit together the top soil and create a more fixed layer of topsoil.”
Work will continue to permanently repair the area affected downslope at Hampton, but it’s unlikely to impact on the single-lane access through the site.
Access to the Jenolan Caves precinct via Two Mile reopened on Monday, 10 May, with public access to Carpark 2 allowing visitors to head to Jenolan Caves House.
The damage to Five Mile is significant with geotechnical engineers currently carrying out investigations on the slopes and road, and this section is expected to be closed for an extended period.