Dorrigo to be cut off until Monday

WITH seven major obstacles blocking the Dorrigo Mountain Road, traffic is not expected to flow in either direction until Monday.

Up on the plateau Dorrigo Sweet Shop owner Sonya Buck said while the sale of chocolate to locals was strong, business was certainly affected by the road being closed.

“It's pretty quiet here in town,” Ms Buck said.

“Quite a few shops were closed earlier in the week because staff were unable to get into town.

“The Bananacoast Credit Union still hasn't opened because staff are cut-off.”

More than 500 millimetres of rain fell on the Plateau in the 48 hours from Tuesday.

SES volunteer Josh Verkoeyen said the last few days had been 'pretty hectic', especially as the town had had no phone or internet access for 24 hours from noon on Wednesday.

“We've mainly been dealing with leaking roofs and there is quite a lot of damage to local roads,” Mr Verkoeyen said.

“The Deervale Loop is closed but the roads to Grafton and Armidale are open.”

Tuesday night saw the Heritage Hotel-Motel providing accommodation to more than 40 stranded tourists.

Duty manager Michelle Harvey said occupancy was more than double that on a normal Tuesday night.

She said the biggest problem in town was the continued closure of the Bananacoast Credit Union.

“The National Bank opened today but we've been told the BCU won't be open until Monday,” Ms Harvey said. “We are expecting some people might have to start asking for credit.”

Bellingen Shire Council's general manager Mike Colreavy said a number of crews were working to clear the Dorrigo Mountain Road but progress was slow due to the wet conditions and potential safety concerns when clearing land slips.

“At this stage we are estimating it will be two to three days work to make the road safe,” Mr Colreavy said.

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