Righting a rocky road

When a major slip closed the Snowy Mountains Highway at Brown Mountain in early March, New South Wales’ Roads & Maritime Services team turned to Rocla to provide MassBloc® products to shore up the highway and make it safe to re-open.

The slip had taken out most of the width of the road over a 30 metre length, and carried debris several hundred metres down the mountain side. Reconstructing the road was a difficult task, without considering the added pressure of needing to re-open it as quickly as possible.

Following a geotechnical inspection the day after the slip, design options for the repair were developed over the weekend. Further review and refinement of the design allowed the repair to be optimised to allow earliest possible opening, with Rocla MassBloc® chosen as the preferred earth stabilisation product to prevent future collapse and provide the necessary speed of construction.

A week later, when the slope had dried out enough to allow construction work, repairs began.

The completed work included lower layers of mass rock, over which layers of smaller rock wrapped in a reinforcing mesh were placed. A concrete footing was then poured for a three metre high concrete Rocla MassBloc® retaining wall. This retaining structure as a whole supports the road formation and road pavement layers.

Thanks to the quick response of the Rocla team, who turned product around in record time, the road was re-opened on the 5th of April, just a month after its initial closure.