Temporary closure of Waratah Ridge Road (Newnes Plateau)

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T2
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Full name: Tim Vollmer
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Temporary closure of Waratah Ridge Road (Newnes Plateau)

Post by T2 » 23 Sep 2021, 16:12

For anyone planning a visit to Hole in the Wall (or other Bungleboori canyons), there's a significant road closure impacting access (I imagine there's quite a few canyoners keen to get out here once lockdown ends).

Waratah Ridge Road -- which takes you from Glowworm Tunnel Road to the Hole in the Wall carpark -- is closed from this week until approximately mid-November.

It is likely to be closed a second time from mid-January 2022 for an estimated three months, but that timeframe may change.

Reason for the closure:

The closure is part of a Department of Defence project to clean-up remnants from WWII that were dumped in the area.

Marrangaroo, just past Lithgow, was a major part of Australia's secret chemical weapons program during the war. Old railway cuttings and tunnels were used to store bombs containing phosgene and mustard gas. At the end of the war, these secret stockpiles were dumped, with chemicals and bombs burnt and buried at various locations, including on the Newnes Plateau. Because the program was so secretive, no records were kept of where things were dumped, which is why locations are still being found and remediated.

While the land is part of Newnes State Forest, the Forestry Corporation of NSW have limited involvement. A company called GHD are managing the project on behalf of Defence, with Milsearch undertaking the ordinance removal.

The length of the closures, particularly the second one from January, will depend on what is found during the initial clean-up work.

I have been told that there is not believed to be an impact on water quality in the area, which is good news given it is in the headwaters of both branches of Bungleboori Ck.

Closure location:

Waratah Ridge Road is closed for about 5km between Glowworm Tunnel Road and Two Trees Road.

The main work area is about mid-way along the closed section of road, just to the east of Mt Horne.

I have been told that with advanced notice, it may be possible to arrange vehicle access through the work area, but this would only be during work hours. A simpler option is to detour the closed area.

Below is a map showing the work area (circled in red), road closures (red marks), and detour route recommended by Forestry Corporation (yellow). The advice is to take Red Hill Road (next one north of Waratah Ridge Road). After about 800m turn left. Follow for 1.4km then turn right. Follow road across Dingo Creek then turn left. After 500m turn right onto Two Trees Road. Follow to Waratah Ridge Rd.
Waratah Ridge Road closure.JPG
Waratah Ridge Road closure.JPG (338.79 KiB) Viewed 1111 times
I have marked the same information up on an online topo map: https://maps.ozultimate.com/?lat=-33.39 ... 2376815033

Be aware that Forestry isn't actively managing these roads at the moment, so access may be difficult or impossible in 2wd vehicles. Expect to add an extra 10 minutes of driving time in each direction. I am hoping to head out once lockdown ends to confirm if there is a better detour option.

Further information / contacts for arranging access:

If you want further information about the closure, want to be kept informed about future closure dates, or want to try and arrange vehicle access through the work site, the best contact is Michael Ulph from GHD (Michael.Ulph [at] ghd.com).

The best contact at Forestry Corporation is Tijmen Klootwijk (Tijmen.Klootwijk [at] fcnsw.com.au)

User avatar
T2
Site Admin
Posts: 363
Joined: 15 May 2018, 10:33
Full name: Tim Vollmer
City: Blaxland
State: New South Wales

Re: Temporary closure of Waratah Ridge Road (Newnes Plateau)

Post by T2 » 30 Sep 2021, 11:47

The latest update from the project is that the first tranche of work is expected to finish in mid-November, allowing the road to reopen from 19 November. We'll then have two months of easy access before the next, more substantial closure.

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