More than 30,000 tonnes of rubble that was once part of the M1 Pacific Motorway has been used to rebuild fire trails across the Central Coast – and there are plans to roll out the initiative statewide.
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said Transport for NSW had partnered with Central Coast Council to donate excess rubble and rocks from the upgrade to help reinforce council’s fire trail network, saving money and time for both parties.
“This truly was a win-win situation because Transport for NSW saved on transportation and processing costs, while Central Coast Council tripled its fire trail reinforcement program at no extra cost,” Mr Toole said.
“Hundreds of local homes are still standing because fire fighters were able to hold back the inferno that swept through the area on New Year’s Eve while standing on a reinforced trail.
“The huge success of this project means the initiative could be used right across the state, so that we can forge ahead with vital infrastructure projects while doing our bit for the environment and local communities.”
Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast and Member for Terrigal Adam Crouch praised Transport for NSW and Central Coast Council for their role in helping local Rural Fire Service brigades save homes during the bushfires.
“In the past three years, Central Coast Council has been using excess material provided at no cost by Transport for NSW for fire trail construction on existing road reserves,” Mr Crouch said.
“Rural Fire Service volunteers were truly heroic in their successful efforts to save homes and lives here on Arizona Road in Charmhaven, but the reinforcement of this trail in the months beforehand played a key role in that outcome.”
Rural Fire Service Superintendent Viki Campbell said the strength of the upgraded trails gave local brigades a firm foundation for holding back the fire that swept through on New Year’s Eve.
“Fire trails play a very important role in accessing fires and bringing them under control,” Superintendent Campbell said.
“Last fire season, the local network of trails assisted firefighters in protecting hundreds of homes in the area.”
Central Coast Council Environmental Unit Manager Luke Sulkowski said the program increased capacity to maintain the local fire trail network.
“This saving on material supply has meant Central Coast Council has completed about three times the quantity of improvements we would have normally achieved within our budget,” Mr Sulkowski said.
“Rough estimates on cost savings over three years would be $930,000 for material and about $500,000 for rock reuse.”
For more information on the M1 Pacific Motorway Upgrades, go to https://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/projects/m1-pacific-motorway/index.html.