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Botany Road reopens, saga continues

After seven weeks of interrupting traffic, nearby businesses and in one case a spiritual temple, Botany Road finally reopened the day before Anzac Day reports Ben Falkenmire in the South Sydney Herald May 2008.

While the relief for many will be palpable, for many of the premises surrounding the construction site the saga is anything but over.

The SSH reported the consequences for the Yiu Ming Temple in Retreat Street, Alexandria back in March before the water main burst on Botany Road.

A Yiu Ming spokesperson said that while the temple still operates, the terraces that housed more than 15 elderly people remain evacuated because of instability issues. “Because of what is happening next door the elderly residents have been forced to find independent homes, and their absence is not in keeping with the spirit of the temple,” the spokesperson said.

The temple society is currently in negotiation with Baseline Constructions to fix the large crack that appeared in the terrace building around the time of the construction.

Baseline may also be liable for the NSW Government’s repair work that saw 364 trucks pile 4,732 tonnes of crushed sandstone around the construction site to stabilise the road.

“As the repair works are still in progress no estimate as to cost has been finalized”, Minister for Commerce Eric Roozendaal said before the north-bound lane reopened. “The prime focus of the government has been to ensure the safety of the residents and businesses on Botany Road.”

Minister for Emergency Services Nathan Rees said special legislation had been called on to allow the government to enter and take control of the site.

“The Bill will put beyond any doubt that the Department of Commerce can enter and undertake works at the site in Botany Road…and recover the cost of the work from the owner of the site,’’ Mr Rees said.

This is only the second time the Sate Emergency and Rescue Management Act has been applied – the first time being the Newcastle earthquake.

Up until the intervention, the Government, NSW Police, Sydney Water and Baseline had battled it out for the unenviable right to clean up the road which erupted with a burst water main on March 6.

The south-bound lane was opened six weeks later, and the north-bound lane the week after.

Only now can nearby businesses, like the Iron Duke Hotel, which has been closed for the duration, think about opening its doors again.

Timeline of Botany Road saga

(Source: Residents Simm and Dolla Steel, Hudson Apartments on Botany Road)

  • Nov 2006: A letter of concern is sent to City of Sydney and the Heritage Department regarding the effect the site may have on the Yiu Ming Temple and the unacceptable vibrations felt on Wyndham Street.
  • Mid 2007: The footpath on Botany Road starts to fall away.
  • Nov 2007: Subsiding footpath on Wyndham Street is cosmetically filled with tar.
  • Dec 2007: Photographs are submitted to Council with suggestions the construction site may have subsidence issues.
  • Feb 2008: Reply from Council stating a Council officer has inspected the site and the developer has carried out maintenance to the footpath. The Council officer is to monitor the footway and arrange for repairs as needed.
  • Mar 6, 2008: Water main bursts. Botany Road is closed.
  • Apr 16, 2008: South-bound lane reopened.
  • Apr 24, 2008: North-bound lane reopened.

Photo: Andrew Collis

Source: South Sydney Herald May 2008