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Maria Island flood damage repairs under way


Works worth nearly $1 million to repair storm-damaged infrastructure at the Maria Island National Park have begun this week, the Parks and Wildlife Service today announced.

In November last year, an intense storm cell dumped 150 mm of rain on the island during a 12 hour period – overtopping the Bernacchi dam wall and sending a torrent of water downstream.

The Parks and Wildlife Service’s Southern Region Manager, Ashley Rushton, said this torrent damaged both the water supply and the Bernacchi Creek bridge - the main access point to Darlington and the camping area adjacent to Darlington

He said tracks and bridges further south on the island were extensively damaged as well.

Mr Rushton said this week, contractors arrived on the island with earthmoving and road works machinery and supplies, to begin a six-week program of works worth $800,000. 

“Transporting the heavy earthworks machinery required for the task required a specialist vessel.

“Machinery sent to the island includes two excavators, a vibrator for screening material, a road grader, loader, tip trucks and support vehicles.”

Mr Rushton said two semi-trailer truck loads of culvert pipes and a fuel tanker of diesel were also to be delivered, with a redimix concrete truck to come over at a later date.

“As Maria Island is a national park, we are very mindful of ensuring the works are completed with minimal environmental impacts.

“Even before the island was accorded World Heritage Area status, heritage considerations were foremost.”

 The works program includes repairing the damage sustained at the reservoir, reinstating approximately 400 cubic metres of fill washed away from the face of the Bernacchi dam and raising the dam wall as well as replacing the footbridge.

The historic Bernacchi Creek Bridge at Darlington will also be repaired.

South of Darlington, five creek crossings will have concrete culverts installed to replace timber bridges damaged or washed away, and on the inland track, two timber bridges will be replaced with fords.

Six kilometres of the coastal road will be upgraded as part of the works.

The works are planned to take advantage of a relatively quiet visitation period on the island, with the aim of having the island back in top shape for the coming summer period.