PLEA: Russell Cavanagh's calls for Counter Rd improvements still apply after 12 months of concern.
PLEA: Russell Cavanagh's calls for Counter Rd improvements still apply after 12 months of concern. Renee Albrecht

Drought hits region's rural road network

GYMPIE Region's unsealed rural roads are in bad shape, councillors agreed at their meeting on Wednesday.

And the bad news is that drought is going to keep on making them worse.

A report that the council was ahead financially in sealed road and park maintenance, prompted western districts councillor Hilary Smerdon to seek more money for rural roads.

A staff report indicated operational savings because of dry weather, with savings from reduced pothole damage to sealed roads and reduced parks maintenance needs, because of slow growth of lawns.

Cr Smerdon asked if some of this money could be re-allocated to unsealed roads, especially in his area.

"There's a crying need for rural road maintenance in western parts of the region,” he said.

Mayor Mick Curran said the same problem occurred in other areas, including Kin Kin Rd, where dry conditions had prevented the council from carrying out refurbishing work for the Transport and Main Roads Department.

The work had been suspended because of a shortage of water for damping down and helping roll the road base.

He and infrastructure councillor Bob Leitch had inspected the work and the council "had to pull up because of the extra cost of carting water.

"We are experiencing drought conditions, creeks are not running.

"Normally we would call on (forestry operator) HQ Plantations to access their dams but they are holding onto the water for fire fighting.

"For road maintenance we do need water and we are reluctant to pump from creeks or dams,” he said.

"We just don't have the water.

"But we will increase expenditure on rural roads in the budget,” he said.

Gympie Times


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