A LARGE boulder and landslide that has blocked the Bridle Track since mid 2010 has been removed, but Bathurst Regional Council warns the road is still closed.
The landslide forced the Track’s closure at Monaghan’s Bluff and it has remained that way ever since despite calls from outdoor enthusiasts and residents to have it reopened.
This week, however, the Western Advocate was contacted by a trail bike rider who said the landslide and large boulder had been moved.
The rider, who asked not to be named, said since the landslide he and other riders, cyclists and walkers have found there was enough room for them to pass by the boulder and continue along the track.
During his ride on the Australia Day long weekend, however, he discovered the boulder had been moved and pushed down into the gully.
He also saw two cars drive through where the boulder had been and that they had both came dangerously close where the road fell away into the gully.
“I witnessed two cars scoot past and one was so close to the edge,” he said.
“It’s only six or seven feet (1.8-2.1 metres) wide and you can see scrapes along the rocks from cars.
The rider said he had seen photographs of someone using a hydraulic ram to push the large boulder off the track and into the gully.
He said people had also cut down trees near the council-erected earthworks further up the track so they could continue driving.
Council’s director engineering services Darren Sturgiss confirmed that council had not moved the boulder and was “unable to determine” how it was pushed off the track.
While the trail bike rider said the photos he provided were definitely of Monaghan’s Bluff after the boulder was moved, Mr Sturgiss said he was not so sure.
I witnessed two cars scoot past and one was so close to the edge.Trail bike rider
“It is difficult to determine where on the Bridle Track the photos were taken but we are unsure if they are indeed at the main landslide at Monaghan’s Bluff,” he said.
“From council's perspective the road is closed and there is no access.”
Mr Sturgiss said road closure signage remained in place prior to the damaged section of road.
Meanwhile, in September last year the NSW Government handed over $2 million to council so it could investigate a range of options to get the road reopened.
“An alternate route has been identified bypassing Monahan's Bluff,” Mr Sturgiss said.
“Negotiations have commenced with owners of private properties where the proposed alternate route is located with regard to land acquisitions.
“When this process is finalised, final design including environmental assessment will be concluded and construction will commence.”