Lismore needs $1.3m more for road repairs

LISMORE City Council has underestimated the wear on its road network and needs to spend a further $1.28 million annually on road renewal, according to a local government asset management consultant.

Morrison Low's Tim McCarthy, who briefed council on road sustainability at Tuesday night's workshop, said council had estimated the road network at about 70% of original value when in fact it could be closer to 50%.

This would mean council faces a steeper uphill battle to get its troubled road network back in order.

With a current road spend of $14.3 million every year - divided between new roads, road renewal, and maintenance - an 8% increase would be required to meet the new target.

Mr McCarthy also warned the council it was spending too much on band-aid fixes for already "dead roads" - those which required total renewal - instead of preventing middling roads from degrading further.

"It's too easy to talk about potholes all the time - someone needs to be looking at the entire network from a strategic perspective," Mr McCarthy said.

And when council did upgrade roads, it was providing a "Rolls Royce" solution when a "Holden Ute" version would have been more cost-effective.

Continuing its current approach would cost council millions more in the long run as good roads fell into permanent disrepair.

Council should instead spread its resources to cover basic maintenance of longer stretches of its road network.

Mr McCarthy also expressed concern at the low approval ratings for Lismore's road network, based on the last satisfaction rating in 2007 of a mere 22% for rural roads, and 35% for urban roads. "You need to get your road network back in order - 22% is as low as I've ever seen," Mr McCarthy said.

But Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell said the road network had improved since 2007 and the satisfaction rating would be higher today.



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