Disaster Recovery Projects

Disaster Recovery Projects

In recent years following the Gospers Mountain Megafire and significant rain events, the Lithgow local government area experienced 8 separate disaster events.  

Importantly, one should not consider the impacts of these seven events in isolation. 

If an LGA experiences one natural disaster, assets are weakened and damaged as a result. If, before there is an opportunity to repair that asset, a second natural disaster impacts that same area, the damage caused is compounded by the impacts of that previous disaster. Now consider that seven of these disasters occur over a very short period – there is no doubt that Lithgow has suffered most severely because of these cumulative, compounding impacts. 

This is an unprecedented situation that Lithgow’s assets were not built to withstand. The impacts of climate change can now no longer be ignored though, Lithgow’s future is likely to be characterised by similar future events. 

During 2022 average annual rainfall in the Lithgow area was over 170% of historic levels. This culminated in an average monthly rainfall in July 2022 of 400%. This level of rainfall on top of rising water tables caused the breakup of the road surface and potholes on many of the roads throughout the LGA in the second half of 2022. 

Did you know...? </p>
<p>According to the National Emergency Agency (2023) 92% of local government areas (LGA) in Australia were impacted by disasters alone in 2013. 70% of Australians lived in a disaster declared region in 2022.</p>
<p>According to a report by Deloitte (2021), disasters from natural hazards currently costs the Australian economy $38billion per year with an estimated rise to at least $73billion per year by 2060.  </p>
<p>8 Natural disaster declarations for the Lithgow local government area (LGA) between 2019-2024. The total costs of these disasters to the Lithgow LGA for approximately $206million including Wolgan Gap and climbing or $26million excluding Wolgan Gap.

FAQs

 

What does this mean?

Because these events have been declared as disasters by the other levels of government, they qualify for funding assistance. Government guidelines require the Council to undertake and fund the works and then claim those funds back. Regional and rural councils, like Lithgow, have very limited financial capacity. The councils do not have the ability to carry large outflows of funds for disaster recovery works, without income from the government being received to offset this. As result, road repairs and other works must be phased, meaning the community’s recovery from the effects of disasters is delayed longer.   

The reality is that claims are being submitted by Councils faster than Transport for NSW can assess them.  However, Lithgow City Council continues to vigorously pursue and submit claims on behalf of the community in order to progress works.    

What is the claim approval process?

A significant amount of work goes into these applications. Every defect must be individually identified, photographed and uniquely registered, and included in the claim alongside a cause, treatment identification and justified cost. In some cases, these applications have hundreds of individual lines that are itemised by defect. 

Broadly, the process for each application is as follows. 

  • Each road is inspected, and defects are identified and given an item number. 
  • Each item is measured, photographed (several photographs for each item) and entered a claim form. 
  • A detailed failure cause and treatment scope must be identified per defect. 
  • The claim for each road can amount to hundreds of items and over a thousand photographs. 
  • Transport for NSW (TfNSW) then review the claim and may ask for clarification on particular items. 
  • LCC then respond to TfNSW enquires. This step of the process may have several iterations. 
  • Once TfNSW are satisfied that all relevant details/information has been provided the claim is approved and council can begin the process of rehabilitating the road. 

 

 

 

Claim approval Process.   Inspect the road and record the defects. Submit the claim to Transport for NSW for review and assessment. Respond to enquiries. Approval received in writing from Transport for NSW. Contact the contractor to commence work. Notify the Council and community.

Once the claim is approved how long will it take before works commence?

Once the claim is approved, Council must follow legislated procurement procedures to identify suitable contractors to undertake works. For some projects, like Glen Davis Road, this has been previously completed. Once the Council has been advised in writing that the claim has been approved, the Contractor for that area will be contacted to ascertain when they are available to commence the works.  All contractors are currently engaged, and commencement of works is dependent upon Contractor availability. 

For other projects, procurement must follow the following process: 

Project Life Cycle 5 Steps – Timeline infographic – Scope, tender, contract appointment, lead time and commencement all detailed below in the Project Life Cycle.

  

Project Life Cycle  

  • Development of detailed scope that aligns with the project approval outlined above. (2 weeks) 
  • Public exhibition by open tender (4 weeks minimum). 
  • Assessment of the tenders by a panel of specialists within Council. (3 weeks) 
  • Reporting to the next available public meeting of Council for tenders over the $250,000 threshold (this captures most projects). (up to 4 weeks) 
  • Letter of approval to be sent to the successful contractor. (2 weeks) 
  • Contracts to be drawn up and executed. (2 weeks) 
  • Lead time based on contractor availability (varies, on average 4 – 6 weeks) 
  • Mobilisation, pre-start and contractor induction. (1 week) 

What happens if a claim is not approved?

If a claim is not approved, Council must argue the claim and further support the engineering basis for works. In the worst-case scenario, Council must identify alternative sources of funding to complete the work. 

Road Description / location of works Number of defect items Progress 
Wolgan Gap - New Road Construction of a new road to replace the failed 2.6 km section of Wolgan Road. The new road section will be situated on the eastern escarpment of Wolgan Gap. NA Wolgan Valley Disaster Response
Browns Gap Road (Landslide) Stage 1 Hassans Walls Road to Hartley Vale Road NA Browns Gap Road Works
Browns Gap Road (Landslide) Stage 2 Hassans Walls Road to Hartley Vale Road NA 
Glen Davis Road, Glen Davis Castlereagh Highway to Glen Alice Road 105 

Phase: Funding approved

Start: 8 April 2024, between 7am & 5pm.

Expected completion:  12 Weeks (weather permitting)

Progress

The works will include repairs to the road surface, reinstatement of the road edges where needed and clearing of roadside drainage where required. Motorists are advised that traffic control will be in place and to expected minor delays as lanes may be closed for works. However, the road will remain open.

Glen Alice Road, Glen Alice Glen Davis Road to Mt Marsden 146 Phase: Claim submitted
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
John Mackey Drive, Portland Pipers Flat Road to Portland-Sunny Corner Road 14 Phase: Claim submitted
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Pipers Flat Road, Portland  Rydal Road to John Mackey Drive 35 Phase: Claim submitted
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Fields Road, Hartley Valley Browns Gap Road to Hartley Vale Road 12 Phase: Claim submitted
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Portland-Sunny corner Road, Portland Sloggetts Lane to Sunny Corner Road 129 Phase: Claim submitted
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Blackheath Creek Road, Hartley Valley Cox's River Road to Mill Creek Road 95 Phase: Claim submitted
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Lowther Siding Road, Lowther Jenolan Caves Road to Gangbenang Road 76 Phase: Claim submitted
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Wolgan Road (2), Wolgan Valley Donkey Steps to Barton Creek Bridge 82 Phase: Claim submitted
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Wolgan Road (1), Lidsdale Maddocks Lane to Council Tip 47 Phase: Claim submitted
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Magpie Hollow Road, South Bowenfels Great Western Highway to Rydal-Hampton Road 89 Phase: Claim submitted
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Hampton Road, Rydal/Hampton Sydney Road to Jenolan Caves Road Tba Phase:
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Sodwalls Road, Sodwalls Tarana to Rydal-Hampton Road Tba Phase:
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Browns Gap Road, Hartley Valley Great Western Highway to Blackmans Creek Road Tba Phase:
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Hartley Vale Road, Hartley Valley Browns Gap Road to LGA Boundary Tba Phase:
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Mid Hartley Road, Hartley Valley Brown’s Gap Road to Great western highway Tba Phase:
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Dark Corner Road, Dark Corner Cupitts Lane to Wattle Creek Road Tba Phase:
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Cooerwull Road, Bowenfels Great Western Highway to Fullagar Avenue Tba Phase:
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Sir Thomas Mitchell Drive, South Bowenfels Land Slip NA Phase:
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Old Bathurst Road, South Bowenfels Land Slip NA Phase:
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
Marsden Swamp (Landslide) Land Slip NA Phase:
Start:
Expected completion:
Progress
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