Westbank Road closes as Chaffey Dam rises

MILESTONE: By swallowing the road around the western bank of the dam, Chaffey has again reached new heights. Photo: Peter Hardin 210916PHB009

MILESTONE: By swallowing the road around the western bank of the dam, Chaffey has again reached new heights. Photo: Peter Hardin 210916PHB009

WESTBANK Road is closed and underwater as Chaffey Dam continues to rise.

As the dam crept over 86 per cent, the water slowly inundated the road, which is expected to stay submerged for quite a while.

Tamworth Regional Council closed the road with newly installed boom gates when the dam hit 84 per cent, as the road’s drains became overwhelmed, threatening to turn it into a bog.

The road closure will impact a handful of residents, who will have to go the long way around Chaffey.

Council has notified the residents and a notice has been put up at the Woolomin Gold Rush Store.

At one point, the future of Westbank Road was uncertain, as a bridge and culvert in the initial proposal for the Chaffey upgrade was cut by the state government in the final funding allocation.

However in March this year, Tamworth Regional councillors agreed to ensure Westbank Road remained open to traffic and to close only a 3.5km section when necessary.

Council also allocated $40,000 to have associated works carried out, including the installation of the boom gates and signage.

Chaffey continues to set and break records with ever per cent it rises.

Swallowing Westbank Road is another milestone for the recently upgraded dam, which has made a remarkable turnaround since May, when Level 4 water restrictions were place on Tamworth after Chaffey dropped below 35 per cent.

Last week it was predicted more heavy rains would push Chaffey to hit its new maximum capacity of 100,000 megalitres.

However, the rain has fallen short of expectations, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting a moderate chance of light showers over the next few days.

Chaffey will continue to rise as water drains into its catchment, as will dams across the region.

Lake Keepit is at 77 per cent with 333,000 megalitres, while Split Rock is at 25 per cent with 104,000 meglitres.

Copeton Dam gained nearly 100,000 megalitres in five days, sitting at 48 per cent and 676,000 megalitres.

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