WITH snow predicted on the Barrington Tops this week, residents are reminded Barrington Tops Forest Road has been closed since March and remains at high risk of collapse.
Following flooding in March, physical barriers have been put in place to prevent motorists accessing the dangerous section of road, effectively closing the only access to the state and national parks from Gloucester, on the east of the range.
Kathy Lyons, from Forestry Corporation said they can not stress enough how unsafe the road is.
“We understand the importance of this road to the local community and visitors but we cannot stress enough how unsafe it is with current sustained damage. Please adhere to all road closures, signs and barriers and avoid the area until repairs are complete,” Ms Lyons said.
“Barrington Tops Forest Road is the only access road to the Barrington Tops State Forests and National Parks from the East Coast and is also used as an alternative access route between Gloucester and Scone, so it is absolutely a top priority for repair,” she said.
“We will commence repairs as soon as possible, but early indications suggest significant works are required to repair the damage,” Kathy Lyons said.
Phillip Hood, acting director of infrastructure for the Upper Hunter Shire Council also warned of dangerous conditions for motorists on the west of the range, due to strong winds and unpredicatable conditions.
“While access to the Barrington Tops from Scone is currently available, the unsealed road section is steep, narrow and winding, and ice and snow can make driving here extremely dangerous, even for 4WDs,” said Mr Hood.
“The road is not designed for large amounts of traffic, even at the best of times,” he said.
“People who wish to see the snow are advised that the Northern Tablelands is a better choice, with the snow forecast being widespread from Nowendoc/Nundle to Walcha/Armidale.”
“With strong winds, there is also potential for trees and branches to fall, posing a direct risk to visitors, and possibly blocking access into and out of the area,” Phillip Hood said.
Emergency services routinely warn motorists of the dangerous conditions on the Barrington at this time of year and advise the following:
- If you are involved in an accident – help may be several hours away.
- Mobile phone coverage in the area is scant.
- Always tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.
- Always take extra warm clothing, food and water.
For up to date information about road conditions on the Barrington Tops contact the Visitor Information Centre at Scone on 02 6545 1526.