Project Update: Millar’s Creek Walkway

Have you ever played that children’s game Jenga?

With careful examination of the structure, you can sometimes pull a piece from the bottom of the tower and it remains intact. The game continues.

Alternatively, you gently slide a piece out only to have the entire thing collapse and your rival is declared the winner. So frustrating!

That frustration was how our Engineering Team were feeling when they probed deeper into the cause of cracking bitumen and a warped section of retaining wall along Millar’s Creek Walkway.

At first glance, this was a small project to repair that section of path, pull out the affected piece of wall and replace.

Job done and well under budget.

At least that was the thinking until a geotechnical consultant was engaged to conduct a site inspection and decided a period of observation was necessary, to better assess the root cause of the problem.

Turns out that cracked bitumen was actually just a symptom of a bigger problem. The area of ground identified as moving, or slipping down the banks of Millar’s Creek was larger than first thought, extending several metres on either side of the damaged path.

Taking that early easy option would literally have been like sticking a bandaid over a gaping wound and only lead to certain failure of the path and wall again in the not-too-distant future.

Our consultant advised excavating to remove the entire area of affected ground, replacement with reinforced material, retaining wall repairs and replacement plus construction of a timber boardwalk.

Here’s where things get especially tricky though.

Gaining access to the affected site for heavy excavation equipment is difficult. In addition, a project of that scale would completely close off access.

A dangerous option since the walkway is not just used for recreation, but bushfire access as well.

Any path solution would need to be strong enough and wide enough to accommodate at least a ute in an emergency situation.

With all investigations complete, Shire staff are now seeking quotations for the repair works and these will be reviewed against the project budget.

Dardanup Shire President Mick Bennett said he could appreciate users of the walkway might be wondering about the lack of progress on the repairs.

“I’m certain our ratepayers are wondering why what seems to be such a small project is taking so long to fix,” Mr Bennett said.

“Please be assured we are working towards a solution and completion of repairs as a matter of urgency however we have a responsibility to ensure that we identify the best possible solution to the problem and not just a short-term fix.”

The edge of the walkway remains barricaded for safety however users are still able to pass through.

For further information or enquiries about this project please contact Director Engineering and Development Services Luke Botica on 9724 0000.

Stay tuned for further updates on commencement of works…