Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Bathers Way stabilisation works begin


Specialist contractors have today begun final work to stabilise a section of cliff face located to the south of Bathers Way at South Newcastle Beach.

The area is known by the Awabakal name Yirannali, which means ‘a place of falling rocks’, and is a key point of interest on the Newcastle Coastal Geotrail given the fracturing of layers of coal and sandstone unique to this location, said Council Acting Executive Director City Infrastructure, Robert Dudgeon.

Mr Dudgeon said the work was an important step before re-opening the nearby pathway to the community.

“We anticipate that we will see a significant increase in foot traffic compared to historic levels when we open the lower promenade and re-establish the connection from Newcastle Beach up to King Edward Park,” he said.

“While the work on the lower promenade is now complete, the contractor working on the cliff face has requested it remain closed to pedestrians while they complete the cliff stabilisation work.

“The area has a history of rockfall, I’m sure many people remember the large rock that fell in 2002.

“Public safety is our highest priority so it’s important that we reduce any risk to the community.”

The work involves installation of a series of rock bolts, while specialised machinery will be used to seal areas of soft rock to reinforce the cliff face.

“We anticipate some short periods of disruption to the flow of traffic and pedestrians along Watt Street in March due to crane movements when the sealing works take place, but much of the work is undertaken using hand tools with workers abseiling from the top of the cliff line,” Mr Dudgeon said.

He said the specialist contractor will work in close collaboration with Daracon, who are working to complete the construction of the Bathers Way upgrade after the original contractor Lloyd Group entered voluntary administration in March last year.

The Bathers Way, South Newcastle Beach upgrade features a shared path from Shortland Esplanade to King Edward Park, improvements to parking, landscaping, lighting and accessibility, the installation of fitness equipment, shade, seating and viewing areas, as well as a new café/kiosk and accessible amenities.

The project also includes a $1.6 million upgrade to the skate park with wheelchair-accessible skate bowl and terrain park, which will complement the advanced-level facilities at Empire Park and provide a unique drawcard to promote ongoing visitation and activation of this area, the Council said in a statement.

It says the upgrade remains on track for completion in mid-2024.

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