New bridge restores access to Styx River camping area

The Eely Creek Bridge has been replaced restoring access to the Wattle Flat picnic and camping area in Styx River State Forest.The Wattle Flat picnic and camping area in Styx River State Forest between Ebor and Armidale has been reopened to all traffic after the completion of a new bridge.

The old timber bridge over Eely Creek failed some years ago and until recently entry has only been passable by a splash crossing which limited the types of vehicles that could reach the area.

“The new bridge has just been completed at a cost of $50,000,” said Forests NSW Central Region manager Kathy Jones.

“There is a 20 tonne weight limit on the new bridge but vehicles towing caravans and RVs will be able to cross.”

The bridge was designed by Forests NSW Central Region operations manager Karel Zejbrlik and contractor Dave Thurgood from Belmore.

Supervision was provided by operations forest assistant Dave Couchman.

“Forests NSW would like to thank the operators of Yaraandoo Eco Lodge, neighbours of the forest, who provided accommodation for the construction team,” Ms Jones said.

“The bridge is a new design using massive concrete blocks for abutments and the deck is made of reinforced steel sections.

“These are 12m long and 2.5m wide giving a 5m deck with a steel safety railing either side.

“This allowed minimum environmental disturbance and the creek banks were stabilised using jute mesh and rye grass.”

The bridge was erected in the same location as the old bridge to protect the stuttering frog mixophyes balbus which has been recorded further downstream.

“Wattle Flat is a popular picnic and camping area on the banks of the Styx River,” Ms Jones said.

“This improved two-wheel-drive access will make it easily accessible to all vehicles.”

The picnic ground can be entered off Styx River Forest Way which runs between the Kempsey Armidale Road and Point Lookout Road, a tourist drive just off Waterfall Way.

Forests NSW has also installed new environmentally friendly toilets at the picnic area and will soon upgrade the toilets at the camping area.

“We are pleased to be able to upgrade these visitor facilities in Styx River State Forest which has been sustainably harvested and regenerated for many years and the cycle is just beginning again now.”

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