FEAR OF FLOODING: Pillar Valley resident Chris Gosewisch on the Wooli Rd Bridge overpass.
FEAR OF FLOODING: Pillar Valley resident Chris Gosewisch on the Wooli Rd Bridge overpass. Ebony Stansfield

HIGHWAY ROW: Resident's woes falling on deaf ears

PILLAR VALLEY resident Chris Gosewisch says complaints that the Pacific Highway upgrade will cause stormwater to flood his property were falling on deaf years.

While Mr Gosewisch can appreciate the need for the highway upgrade, he believes his concerns have merit.

The new highway is being built on a strip of land running through the middle of Mr Gosewisch's property, which the Roads and Maritime Services bought before construction began.

The arrangement has left the Grafton business owner, who has degrees in agricultural science and engineering, with concerns.

Mr Gosewisch said the biggest concern was the RMS plan to drain water from the eastern side of Wooli Rd from his neighbour's property to the western side of Wooli Road.

He said this water flowed on to his property.

"They are diverting it ... before, water used to run down to Pillar Creek.

"Now they are going to run it down the Coldstream River, via my property, over my paddock," he said.

Mr Gosewisch said it was really worrying him.

"They'll say 'no, the pond will catch that'," he said.

He said when 32mm of rain fell recently, the water catchment on the new highway was overflowing.

He said the RMS recently dug out beneath the Wooli Rd overpass bridge for the new highway, and Mr Gosewisch said four to five feet of water was pooling underground.

"Since they started to build the bridge, the water started collecting," he said.

"Now they have a concrete road and not natural dirt and bush.

"No water soaks in, it just flows off, whatever lands on that road will flow through my property."

After he sold part of his land to the RMS, he had to relocate one of his cattle gates, but when the Wooli Rd overpass bridge was completed, the new traffic barrier was placed adjacent to his new gate.

Mr Gosewisch had put his new gate in this position after consulting with the RMS.

Mr Gosewisch said it wasn't in a suitable place and now he isn't able to load his cattle out of the gate.

"How do I get into my paddock through the gate with a truck and back onto the bridge to go north up the road (with the barrier there)?"

He said the design should have a curve in it to allow him to load his cattle.

"I won't take a semi-trailer over the cattle grid," he said.

He said the RMS will give him access under the bridge at the bottom of his property, however he said it won't give him access to all of his paddocks.

Mr Gosewisch understands the area in front of his gate may become a nature strip with trees and shrubs, which will make access even more difficult.

A Roads and Maritime Spokesperson said the surface water from the road will be captured in drains within the road corridor.

"The drainage has been designed so water flows into a sediment basin and is slowly discharged via existing water channels. Existing channels for the Coldstream River flow through this property," the spokesperson said.

They said information about how flooding impacts have been assessed and mitigated is outlined in the Glenugie to Devils Pulpit Hydrological Mitigation Report, which is available to view at rms.nsw.gov.au/W2B.

The spokesperson said there were no existing pedestrian or shared path facilities connecting to the overpass on Wooli Road, therefore a dedicated pedestrian path was not provided on the overpass bridge.

"Temporary access has been provided to address the property owner's concerns about access for loading his cattle while the project team investigates a permanent solution in consultation with him.

The spokesperson said the Urban Design and Landscape Plan for the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade is being finalised.

"The property owner will be kept informed about proposed landscaping near his property," the spokesperson said.

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