Issue is a rocky road
IT might be surprising to some people who have only ever lived on a fresh stretch of asphalt but roads and the maintenance (or not) of them, can be an emotive issue.
As of January 2010, Gympie Regional Council’s (GRC) Road Register contained 2356km of maintained roads. However, it’s estimated that there may be a similar length of unmaintained roads, according to a report prepared by council’s director of engineering services Bob Fredman, and presented at this week’s Works and Services Committee Meeting.
It’s the unmaintained roads that create plenty of angst and it appears that some residents do not realise that council is not in a position to maintain all roads. While council waits for the Local Government Association of Queensland to develop a generic Road Maintenance Policy, the director of engineering services drafted an interim policy which addresses current road maintenance issues and may go some way in helping people understand their situation. Residents can access the Road Register, which is available at the office of council’s design division.
At the start of each financial year, council allocates funds for road maintenance and road upgrading. Mayor Ron Dyne and Chairman Cr Larry Friske said they would gladly put bitumen everywhere if they could.
“It only requires large quantities of money,” Cr Dyne said. The reality is road maintenance and upgrading has to be prioritised and balanced with council’s legal responsibility.
In 2010/11, council allocated $4.592 million for road maintenance and $7.482 million for construction. A review of past financial statements shows prior to or at the end of each financial year, the maintenance budget always expired mainly through the demands of safety issues and roughness on maintained roads. Cr Friske said while there had been a high level of service there would be a slowing down of maintenance due to budgetary constraints.