Flood mitigation to proceed at Wakehurst Parkway: Oxford falls site first - bends site requires further investigation due to environmental impacts
The Council has announced it will proceed with mitigation works at Wakehurst Parkway.
Following a feasibility study and community consultation on behalf of the State government, Northern Beaches Council voted at its March 22nd Meeting to proceed with the first steps to reduce flood impacts on Wakehurst Parkway, a major State-managed arterial road.
Detailed design and environmental assessments will now get underway specifically for the Oxford Falls site with a view to designs being completed by mid-year which will then allow construction to commence.
With respect to the Bends site further down the road, due to the potential environmental impacts, Council will undertake further investigations at this location to consider alternate solutions including additional peer and technical reviews of existing and new options.
It is critical to note that none of the works will stop the road from ever closing. The only way to completely flood-proof the road is to raise it - which is a far more expensive and impactful project and not currently on the priority list for the State government.
Mayor Michael Regan said community consultation revealed that while there is support for flood mitigation works, views diverged on the preferred method and the acceptability of the environmental impact.
“There is no doubt that Wakehurst Parkway closures are frustrating to motorists and we’d all like to see the flood issues fixed,” Mayor Regan said.
“While a quick solution would be great, in the case of Wakehurst Parkway there is a lot of detail to consider along with environmental regulations and site constraints and multiple land ownership.
“The only option that will prevent road closures during extreme events, such as the like we saw a few weeks ago, is to raise the road and that’s not on the State government priority list.
“The Federal government has also not provided any funding, despite requests from, as we understand it, the State government, as well us at Council.
“So, working with what we have, it makes sense to progress with what has community support, and further, to do more work to improve both environmental outcomes and ensure we don’t create additional flood issues in other areas.”
- Dec 2017: Council received $5 million grant funding from OLG to investigate options to address the frequent flooding of Wakehurst Parkway
- 2018: Initial investigations and data collection
- 2019: Detailed analysis and options development
- Dec 2019: Potential options clearly exceed the available budget. Council requests additional funds from Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) for next steps
- Nov 2020: NSW Government announces additional funding in NSW budget
- Mar 2021: Council receives formal funding offer of $13.1m from TfNSW
- Apr 2021: Council conditionally accepts funding offer pending community consultation and extension of timeframe
- May/July 2021: Draft Feasibility Study put on public exhibition
- Oct 2021: Community Engagement Report completed
- Nov/Dec 2021: Council in Caretaker period
- March 2022: Community consultation and Study considered by newly elected Council with recommendations to start at Oxford falls site and investigate further to achieve a more sensitive outcome for the Bends site