The Department of Transport is working alongside emergency services, other government agencies and the Australian Defence Force to manage roads and public transport in fire affected areas.
For the most up-to-date information on road closures in bushfire affected communities visit the VicTraffic website.
Transport update 21 February
Below is a summary of the major roads currently open in East Gippsland and the North East region of Victoria. For your safety, please be aware of changes to driving conditions on affected roads.
It’s important to remember road conditions can change at any time due to weather or ongoing restoration works.
For the latest road access information visit the VicTraffic website.
Major roads open in East Gippsland
The Princes Highway, Monaro Highway, Mallacoota Road, Combienbar Road, Bonang Road and Gelantipy Road are now open, reconnecting tourists, residents and freight with NSW and local communities in East Gippsland.
Along the Princes Highway we have replaced more than 1600 guideposts and 70 curve alignment signs after they were damaged by the heat of the fires, swept and cleared tons of debris across almost 100 kilometres of road (between Sydenham Inlet Road and the NSW border) and replaced safety barriers in high-risk locations.
Sections of the below roads are undergoing clearing and restoration works, with varying access levels.
Although Combienbar Road is open, Houston Track and Erinunderra Track are still closed. Access for Emergency Services only. .
|Road||Section||Road access update|
|Bonang Road to Snowy River Rd||
McKillops Road is closed from Bonang Road to Snowy River Rd with access for local residents and permit holders (level C). Assessments are underway.
|Bruthen-Buchan Rd to Nunnett Road||
Road closed due to fire activity. Follow the direction of emergency services.
Snowy River Rd
|Sandy Creek Rd to NSW border||
Snowy River Rd is closed between Sandy Creek Rd Suggan Buggan to Barry Way/NSW border. Access for Emergency Services only
|Between Oakleys Track, Benambra and Staceys Bridge||Benambra-Corryong Road is closed between Oakleys Track, Benambra and Staceys Bridge due to fire damage. Access for Emergency Services only.|
Major roads open in North East Victoria
Major roads including Great Alpine Road, Murray Valley Highway and Murray River Road have reopened after the bushfires, reconnecting communities and tourism destinations across the north-east of Victoria.
Some local roads in the Alpine region remain closed due to fire activity, and ongoing clearing and repair works.
|Road||Section||Road access update|
Between Murray Valley Highway and Walwa
|Shelley-Walwa Road is closed after heavy rain impacts.|
|Between Oakleys Track, Benambra and Staceys Bridge
||Benambra-Corryong Road is closed between Oakleys Track, Benambra and Staceys Bridge due to fire damage. Access for Emergency Services only.|
Now that access has been restored to many major roads in bushfire affected areas, it means we can get in and get to work on clearing and repairing smaller, local roads to support local communities, industry and tourism.
We’re working hand in hand with local councils and the Australian Defence Force to support the reopening of local roads impacted by bushfires.
Impacts of rain on bushfire affected roads
After a bushfire, vegetation, verges and trees surrounding roads are burned or destroyed. This means if the area receives heavy rain, the roads are more prone to flooding, landslips and debris due to the loss of vegetation to stabilise soil.
If this happens, drains may become blocked and roads may have to be closed temporarily while our crews and emergency services work to make it safe again.
If you must drive during storm conditions or heavy rain, slow down, use your headlights and take extra care on the roads.
Following the reopening of several roads in East Gippsland and along the Sapphire Coast, a full V/Line coach service is now operating to and from Mallacoota, Batemans Bay and Canberra (via Bairnsdale).
For the safety of all road users there are lower speed limits on some sections of roads which will delay some coach services.
Alternate transport will be arranged if coaches miss train connections at Bairnsdale due to traffic delays, including coaches continuing to Traralgon to connect with later train services.
Plan your journey and book tickets using the V/Line website or speak to the team at your local staffed station or ticket agent.
Bus Route 12, Bairnsdale-Gelantipy via Lakes Entrance is now operating on a temporarily reduced route between Buchan and Bairnsdale via Lakes Entrance, in accordance with the timetable and until further notice.
Opening bushfire affected roads
With bushfires impacting over 1300km of roads in Gippsland and North-Eastern Victoria, our number one priority is providing safe access for people to return to their homes and communities as soon as possible.
The bushfires have severely damaged the road surface, compromised structures like retaining walls and bridges, and destroyed signs and line markings across East Gippsland and North East Victoria.
Tens of thousands of trees have been burned. Arborists have been busy individually assessing each tree, removing any that pose as a risk.
Some roads have suffered more damage than others. In some cases, we’ve been tackling pavement or structural damage, and restoring safety features like signs and barriers to make the network safe to use again.
Clearing and re-opening these roads has required a multi-agency effort. We’ve been working with DELWP Forest Fire Management, Parks Victoria, VicForests, and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to clear roads, then undertake emergency repairs to enable safe access for the community.
This work doesn’t stop until services are restored, roads are reopened and communities are reconnected.
Road to Recovery - North East Victoria
Road to Recovery - East Gippsland
Local people fixing local roads
What fire does to a road
Safe driving in bushfire affected area
If you’re travelling through an area impacted by bushfires, it’s important to exercise caution, with smoke still reducing visibility on some roads.
We have reduced speed limits in place through many fire affected areas for your safety and the safety of our crews who are still on site clearing and repairing the roads. Other potential hazards to look out for include:
- Debris on the road from fallen trees and other vegetation
- Damaged signage or guideposts
- Workers or machinery on the road
- An increased presence of wildlife.
Real-time traffic information is available at VicTraffic website via the VicTraffic mobile app from the App Store or Google Play.
Stopping on bushfire affected roads
While roads that have re-opened are considered safe for travel, they’re not always back to their optimal safe operating condition.
Parking on the side of the road unnecessarily can cause a hazard for other motorists. Walking through areas near the roadside can put you at an increased risk of falling trees and debris.
If you’re travelling through a bushfire affected area don’t stop on the side of the road unless you have to.
Registration and ID for bushfire affected residents
When in a bushfire affected area, you may need identification to pass through some traffic management points.
If you have lost your driver licence due to bushfire, VicRoads can provide you with a replacement at no fee. To arrange a replacement card, call 13 11 71 or visit a VicRoads Customer Service Centre.
VicRoads can also assist you with replacing your registration documents or cancelling registration on a fire-damaged vehicle.
For more information visit bushfire relief assistance.
Safe road access
During these bushfires, road access has been managed by the Incident Control Centre (ICC), set up to coordinate the emergency response.
Each road is inspected to ensure it’s safe for all vehicles to travel on before being reopened under the direction of the ICC.
To ensure safety, different levels of access have been put in place. Sometimes a road might have restricted access for a certain type or number of vehicles, this is because it’s what the road can handle at that time due to damage from fires and repair works underway.
This also gives critical access to emergency services and agencies to inspect and repair roads, deliver supplies and provide relief, as well as for local residents and business owners to reach their properties.
When a road is closed, work is happening behind the scenes to safely restore access for the community.
Road access may be blocked by debris and hazardous trees, and the bushfire emergency may still be underway in some areas. The ICC may need to deploy powerful, heavy machinery to clear debris to allow access routes for emergency services.
Logging harvesters are then used to safely remove hazardous trees. In steep terrain, specialist tree-climbing arborists are required to remove hazardous trees by hand.
Once the road is cleared from dangerous trees and the fire danger has passed, our crews can enter the area to assess the damage and impact to the road. We then:
- clear any remaining debris from the roads
- repair the road surface where it has been damaged
- reinstate critical road safety infrastructure including guideposts, line marking and regulatory and warning signs
- assess the safety of critical infrastructure such as bridges, culverts and retaining walls.
We may reopen the road in stages with restrictions in place such as reduced speeds and lane closures, until all safety features are fully restored.
If it’s safe to do so, local residents, business owners and relief, recovery and supply services may be provided with authorised access to closed roads
Residents may be required to pass through traffic management points and show proof of residence.
If you’re permitted to access restricted roads that aren’t open to the general public, please drive with caution. When travelling through the area remember to:
- drive slowly
- obey directions from emergency services personnel
- never drive around traffic management points – these roads are not safe for you to enter.
Once the road has been safely restored, we’ll reopen access to the community.
We’ll also reinstate public transport services across Eastern and North-Eastern Victoria as soon as we can.
For more information download our fact sheet on accessing roads impacted by bushfires.
Regional Victoria is open for business
The fires have significantly impacted regional businesses that would be thriving from tourism at this time of year.
Regional roads are vital to tourism. We’ll do everything we can to ensure roads are reopened and tourists can get through as quickly as possible.
While there are still a few parts of Victoria that aren’t safe to visit after being affected by bushfires, so many regional destinations are open for business!
Chuck an empty esky in the boot and explore the amazing produce and experiences that regional Victoria has to offer.
Check out Visit Victoria for more details and travel inspiration and help support regional Victorian communities for your next getaway.
Regional Victoria's parks and forests
Parks and forests are open across Victoria. Before you plan to visit or camp for your next trip away, you can check if the park or forest you are planning to visit is open.
Accredited Visitor information Centres can also assist in helping you plan your journey.
For the latest emergency information or for details on the status of closed roads and the current situation, visit Vic Emergency.
If the road to your property is closed, we recommend you visit your local relief centre until the road reopens.
For information on school and early childhood service, TAFE closures and relocations, and bus service cancellations/alterations, visit Education and Training.
For any further information please email email@example.com or call the dedicated
RRV hotline (133 778).