Barrington Forest Road closed until June 2022 with no alternative route

Filed in Just In by July 12, 2021

MEMBER for Upper Hunter David Layzell has provided with an exclusive update on the Barrington Forest Road failure after visiting the closure site last Friday.

Mr Layzell was joined by Upper Hunter Shire Mayor Maurice Collinson, general manager Greg McDonald, Deputy Mayor, Kiwa Fisher, Forestry Corporation representative, Mick Wilson and Geotrack engineering consultants Roy Einarsen and Sarah Einarsen.

Representatives from the Midcoast Council were invited, but were unable to attend. 

Here’s what we know so far.

The Forestry Corporation closed the Barrington Forest Road between Cobark Park and Honeysuckle picnic areas on March 23, after heavy rain caused “major structural damage.”

The road failure has not been labeled as a landslide, but has resulted from serious tension cracks in the road, which indicate a future landslide is likely.

See photo gallery and road failure map below.

Forestry Corp has confirmed it will be funding the repair works, which are expected to cost $2 million and be completed by June 2022.

Douglas Partners will begin undertaking geotechnical work this week, taking core samples from the failure site and completing a report to be used for the engineering designs.

When design works are approved and tendered, three months of remediation works will take place, bringing the total timeline of works to June next year.

Engineers investigated if it was possible to use a track that passes below the Barrington Forest Road failure as a temporary alternative route, however the track was deemed unsafe, due to its width, gradient and proximity to the edge of the road.

Engineers confirmed that a potential landslide from the failed road area would fall onto the bypass track below, deeming it too dangerous for travellers to use whilst works take place on Barrington Forest Road.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro has waived two-years worth of Forestry Corp’s State Government fees, as Forestry Corp did not qualify for disaster funding.

Barrington Forest Road failure snapshot


  • The roads were built for logging purposes 50 years ago and were not originally intended for public traffic;
  • The road is an old forestry road that is maintained as a “community service obligation” by Forestry Corp;
  • The current surface condition is a very high standard gravel road and maintenance has taken place in the past few years by Forestry Corp;
  • Forestry corp has undertaken a programme of resheeting (laying new gravel) the roads since 2015;
  • The road failure is not a current landslide but is resulting from serious cracks in the road that indicate a future landslide is likely and probable;
  • Cracks which have been previously marked have noticeably widened since they were originally spray painted.


  • Forestry Corp are completing the repair works and the fund are available to do so;
  • The cost of repairs are expected to be approximately $2 million;
  • Forestry Corp are a government owned organisation and therefore do not qualify for disaster funding from Resilience New South Wales;
  • Instead the Deputy Premier has given Forestry Corp a two-year respite from issuing any dividends to the State Government. This respite is due to the impact that the fires, floods and landslides have had on Forestry Corp.

Programme of works

  • The process to repair the site has already commenced, with the site surveyed and defect investigations already undertaken;
  • Douglas Partners have been engaged for the geotechnical work and will attend the failure site this week to start taking core samples;
  • This will allow the conditions to be modelled and analysed and a Geotechnical report will be made available once completed;
  • The engineering design will be completed based on the geotechnical report, which will then be approved for tender;
  • The contractor will tender the work and commence on site remediation, with works are expected to take three months;
  • The entire process is expected to be complete by June 2022.

Temporary alternative route

  • A track that passes below the failed road was investigated as a temporary diversion;
  • When the road first closed in March, a couple attempted to use the track to bypass the road and became bogged for two days before authorities found them and pulled them out;
  • The option to upgrade the track to a temporary gravel road was investigated, but due to the width of the track, the gradient and the proximity to the edge, it was deemed not suitable as a temporary bypass.
  • Engineers confirmed there is also a risk that any landslide from the failed road would fall onto the track below, making it unsuitable for safe passage. 

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