MAJOR highways to the coast remain closed after a torrent of rain and floods wreaked havoc, with a clean-up effort expected to take weeks.
More than one metre of rain fell in the Mount Seaview area and caused major damage to the highway with about 30 large landslips.
The risk to workers is still too high for Transport for NSW crews to start the recovery and the road is unlikely to be open in time for the Easter long weekend.
A helicopter took geotechnical staff over the damaged highway on Wednesday to log the worst areas in the mountainous stretch between Long View and Ralfes Creek.
NSW Housing, Property and Water Minister Melinda Pavey said the clean up wouldn't happen overnight.
"We've got trees that have come down and parts of the road have been cut from underneath, the full extent of the problem will be known over the coming days as engineers go and assess the damage," she said.
"I know how important this road is for freight movements, businesses, farmers, communities, locals and visitors - and I want to see these road networks opening up as quickly as possible, however reopening is a big task.
"Transport for NSW is going to make sure all resources are thrown at our regional road networks - but this clean up is not going to happen overnight and I am asking the community to be patient because the number one priority is all our safety."
The Oxley Highway remains closed between Walcha and Yarras with detours in place via the Gwydir Highway from the north and New England Highway from the south.
A project team has been put together to gather the resources needed to start remediation works, including machinery, work crews and specialised contractor support.
At least five of the landslips have caused major damage below the highway and will be the most challenging to repair, a Transport for NSW spokeswoman said.
"Transport for NSW is currently focusing on reopening the Oxley Highway to a single lane, alternating flow," she said.
"This could take at least two weeks, but is also subject to weather and safety.
"As the larger slopes will require detailed investigation and design, we expect they will take several months to repair."
The Waterfall Way remains closed in both directions between Maynards Plains Road and Boggy Creek Road near Dorrigo due to landslips and flooding.
Repairs are expected to take three weeks as Bellingen Shire Council crews work with Transport for NSW to clean up the mess.
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