hugroadholeVicRoads engineers and contractors inspect the damaged Foster-Fish Creek Road on Thursday morning.

DRIVERS around South Gippsland and Bass Coast have been complaining for months about the worst state of roads ever. Now South Gippsland and specifically Fish Creek can officially claim the worst ‘pot hole’. A large section of the Fish Creek-Foster Road, near Shields Road, collapsed and was washed away early on Thursday morning, November 14. The force of water undermined the road and roadside trees, uprooting the mature myrtle trees and further caving in the road. The section road affected is around 20 metres long, five metres wide and around seven metres deep. The road has been closed. VicRoads acting regional director Scott Lawrence said the damage was due to over 120mm of rain. “In the two days leading up to the collapse, the nearby creek catchment received significant rainfalls of 120mm which is thought to have caused flooding that destroyed the road,” Mr Lawrence said. “We are currently finalising details of the required repair works so they can be carried out as soon as possible. “It is likely that the entire section will have to be dug up and rebuilt, which will include pumping water away from the area, installing new drains, a significant amount of earthworks to rebuild the road base as well as placing the new road surface. “These works are expected to take up to four weeks, during which time the diversion along Foster-Promontory Road and Meeniyan-Promontory Road will remain in place.”

Tourism affected

While four weeks road closure can be an inconvenience, for tourism operators along Fish Creek-Foster Road the implications are wide ranging. Graeme Wilson of Windy Ridge Winery, which is located a few kilometres further from the road collapse, said the timing was regrettable. Windy Ridge opens every weekend until Christmas and every day after to coincide with the tourism season. “We will still get a few people through who come up from Foster,” Graeme said. “We’re lucky that most people that come to us come because they’ve tasted our wines or are on the wine trail and it’s not passing traffic per se. “We are of course expecting some interruptions but we are working to promote that we’re still open. “We’ve come up with an arrangement with VicRoads and they’ve allowed us to put up some temporary signs with directions for our visitors. “The trouble will be that we won’t really be able to recommend visits to Waratah Hills Winery or them us, unless visitors are prepared to do the round trip.”