Engineers assess rain damage to roads around Jenolan Caves

DAMAGED: Member for Bathurst Paul Toole with Transport for NSW Western Region pavements and geotechnical manager Iain McLean.
DAMAGED: Member for Bathurst Paul Toole with Transport for NSW Western Region pavements and geotechnical manager Iain McLean.

MEMBER for Bathurst and Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole was out at Jenolan Caves with Transport for NSW last week to get a firsthand look at the damage suffered by the precinct.

The road is closed in both directions due to damage between the Binoomea Ridge Trail and The Bicentennial National Train after heavy recent rains.

The roads are more commonly known as the Two and Five Mile sections, where 10 landslides have occurred.

Mr Toole said heavy machinery is in there removing soil and other debris from the road.

"It will require a lot of work to stabilise the road ... to the general eye, it might look okay, but it has to be rendered safe," he said.

"The slope is still saturated and there is a very real chance of more landslides coming down onto the road due to the steep terrain.

"Trees also have to be assessed and may have to come out. We have geotechnical engineering experts assessing the damage."

He said the goal is to restore the road and access as soon as possible, but said public safety had to be the absolute priority.

"Obviously we want to see Jenolan Caves up and running again, but it will be closed until at least April 18," he said.

"Our focus is to get the Two Mile section open again as soon as possible.

"Five Mile will be a lot more challenging. There is erosion underneath the road ... part of the road has fallen away under the terrain.

"We have got to work out, engineering-wise, the safest structure to build it and make it safe again."

Mr Toole said there had been a lot of images published in relation to the damage in the area.

"It's probably one of the top three most impacted roads across the state," he said.

"Bells Line of Road and Jenolan Caves are two of the three largest scale occurrences."

In addition to damaging the roads, the heavy rain has also caused problems within the caves.

Mr Toole said Blue Lake, in particular, had been affected.

"It is heartbreaking to see all the work that was done; dredging it all out of Blue Lake, it looked pristine," he said.

"Now it's completely full of debris again and we have to go back to the very start."

Mr Toole said there were challenges ahead, but the government is not going to compromise the safety of the public.

"The roads will only reopen when it is safe to do so. People might think it looks okay, but they can't see the damage underneath," he said.