By Jed Lanyon
Large scale clean up works to remove fallen trees along the Black Spur are still taking place after the storms damaged the road earlier this month.
Crews are working to clear approximately 50 trees from the Maroondah Highway as well as clean drains, clear widespread debris created from mudslides. VicRoads anticipates the reopening of the road by Friday 25 June, pending weather conditions.
Heavy machinery was brought in over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, including a crane. The narrow nature of the Black Spur means that the crane will take up the entire width of the road, according to VicRoads.
Arborist inspections and geotechnical assessments have commenced with engineers assessing the damage to road infrastructure.
Department of Transport executive director for metro south east, Vince Punar, provided an update on the works to reopen the road.
“It takes an enormous coordinated effort to re-open roads following floods and storms. Our crews are doing a tremendous job, and there is still work we need to do before some roads can safely reopen.
“The tireless work for our crews and contractors to clear debris, as well as the arborists, geo-technical engineers and structural specialists to ensure people are safe, is ongoing and will be completed as soon as possible.
“This clean-up will take several weeks as there are also repairs to be done to ensure any damaged road surfaces and safety barriers are fixed.”
When the Black Spur does reopen, VicRoads advised there may be ongoing repair works which they aim to complete under a lane closure where possible to minimise disruptions.
The clean-up effort has seen an estimated 600 truck loads of timber and debris removed from the Black Spur and around Mount Dandenong from last week, with 76 more trees now identified as hazardous.
In the Mount Dandenong area alone, approximately 3000 tonnes of debris has been removed while enough debris to fill the MCG remains and is piled as high as 2 metres in some places.
One of the worst affected roads, Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, will have between 494 and 1140 tonnes of timber removed in the coming days and weeks, after 44 trees were identified as hazardous and required branch removal or felling.
Last year, VicRoads undertook hazardous tree removal works along the Black Spur following an arborist report that identified the need to remove 98 trees and prune large limbs from another 28.
Many of the trees were grand Mountain Ash that stood between fifty to seventy-five metres tall and had become unstable due to age or competition with other trees.