Mount Keira Road due to reopen in August

The site of Mt Keira lookout, along Mount Keira Road, which was a popular tourist spot before the road's closure.

The site of Mt Keira lookout, along Mount Keira Road, which was a popular tourist spot before the road's closure.

The first stage of work on Mount Keira Road is nearing completion with the road due to be reopened in August.

The road has been closed since December 2012 after a rockfall and subsidence on some sections.

In November last year Wollongong City Council awarded a $1 million tender for the stabilisation of the mountainside in preparation for later roadworks.

The successful tenderer was Specialised Geo and operations manager Leigh Henness said the company had workers on-site about a week after the tender was awarded.

He said the company had been working on both the cliff face above and at the level of the road. 

‘‘It’s active road stabilisation,’’ Mr Henness said.

‘‘So 85 per cent of the contract is stabilising the road edge. There was about 180 lineal metres of the road that was subsiding. We’ve reinforced the lower side, rebuilt it out wider and that was most of the commercial side of it, where most of the time and money went.

Work along Mount Keira Road.

Work along Mount Keira Road.

‘‘Most people think we’re fixing the upper side, which we’ve done a lot of work on but that was only 20 per cent of the contract.

‘‘It’s basically active rock stabilisation measures, where we’ve used fences and mesh and steel bars to reinforce rocks from coming down.’’

The roadside work has included laying concrete along the edge of the road.

Long steel bars called ‘‘soil nails’’ have been drilled through the concrete and into the existing rock beneath the road to hold everything in place.

The concrete along the side will also ultimately become part of the road, as it will be widened and, in the areas of subsidence, raised higher.

‘‘We’ve built the road edge ready for a higher road level,’’ Mr Henness said.

‘‘That will allow the new road angle into the mountain, therefore all the water will flow into the inside gutter, where it should be.

‘‘If we can get the water to the inside gutter and direct it to designated outlets then we’ve reduced the amount of water eroding the road edge dramatically.’’

Once the first stage is completed, council will install  dish drains and guard railing, followed by construction of the road pavement and application of the first seal layer.

‘‘It is anticipated Mount Keira Road will reopen to traffic around the beginning of August,’’ a council spokeswoman said.

‘‘It will then be necessary to temporarily close the road for approximately two days around October to allow the placement of the final asphalt road surface and final line marking.’’