End is in sight for Gap work
THERE'S finally light at the end of the roadworks tunnel that is Cunningham's Gap - but it could take until the end of July to finally reach it.
Work started late last week on a new section of four-lane highway through in the Clayton's Gully sector on the eastern side of the Range, the hardest-hit section of the road in last year's flooding rains.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) said yesterday the work would bypass the flood-damaged stretch of highway and was the last site out of 11 to be reconstructed all up.
In what should be good news for regular Gap travellers, at least two lanes will remain open through the Gap during the rest of the work
"The flood damage was so severe, a new section of road was needed after three of the four traffic lanes were damaged by a massive land slide," the spokeswoman said.
"The new section of highway cuts 50 metres into the slopes, bypassing the previous section and ensuring a stable road surface for many years to come.
"We're building a permanent solution to ensure the highway is safe, efficient, reliable and resilient in future extreme weather events."
The spokeswoman said more than 200,000 work hours had gone into the $40 million worth of Gap projects so far.
"Work on the Clayton's Gully realignment is due to be finished by the end of July, weather permitting.
The project is under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements, with Canberra picking up three-quarters of the costs and the State Government paying fort the rest.
South West Parcel Express owner Graham White said his drivers were of the view the Gap had been "better since Christmas".
"Obviously we've had a lot of delays and that's cost us, and we've also snapped one axle and our windscreens repairs have trebled," he said.
"The biggest issue as I see it is the loss of the passing lane at the top of the Gap, before all of the rain.
"There is a real pinch-point but they obviously felt safety-wise it was too narrow."
Mr White said delays at the Gap since last January were worse for bus companies, with his operation able to make up delays elsewhere.
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