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Extra $3.7m needed for rural road works

Dave Meiers navigates Clayton Road with caution every day, the poorly sealed single lane road forcing him to straddle the dirt whenever another car approaches.
Dave Meiers navigates Clayton Road with caution every day, the poorly sealed single lane road forcing him to straddle the dirt whenever another car approaches. Max Fleet

THE budget for reconstruction of sealed rural roads in the Ballina Shire is "insufficient" and would need to be increased by $3.7 million to maintain the network to an acceptable standard.

Ballina Shire Council, in a report to be given to the C Ward committee this week, has explained that the budget provides for expenditure of $6009 per kilometre of road.

This includes maintenance of pavement, drainage and vegetation, inspections and bitumen resurfacing.

Sealed roads generally require reconstruction every 20-30 years, which translates to about 10km per year.

But the council's rural sealed roads reconstruction budget for 2012/13 only provides for the reconstruction of about 2.5km.

Meanwhile, the council resolved in 2004 to undertake a program of dust sealing rural roads. It was intended for low traffic rural roads not subject to significant heavy vehicle traffic.

"The current estimated cost for undertaking dust sealing is approximately $100,000 per km," the council report states.

"Council maintains 117km of unsealed rural roads.

"Even if all of these roads were suitable for dust sealing, the cost would be $11.7 million.

"Due to the wet weather conditions over the last few years, no roads have been sealed under this program since 2008/09 because there have been no savings in the annual maintenance budget for unsealed rural roads.

"It is likely that there will only be minimum extension of the sealed rural road network under this program."

 

RESEALING RURAL ROADS

  • Sealed roads require resurfacing every 10-15 years.
  • The council's current budget only provides for resurfacing about every 25 years.
  • To achieve the required frequency of resurfacing, the annual budget would need to be increased to $7000 per km, or a total increase of $206,000.
  • The cost of maintaining sealed rural roads is 22% higher than the cost of maintaining unsealed rural roads.

Topics:  ballina shire council, roads, rural roads


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