Kyogle mayor and Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils president Ernie Bennett, left, talking to NRMA director Wend
Kyogle mayor and Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils president Ernie Bennett, left, talking to NRMA director Wend

Safer Roads panel can?t avoid issues

By ALEX EASTON

IT was a day for smiles and handshakes ? not issues.

But, as though pointing to the deep need for solutions to Northern Rivers' roads issues, it was issues members of the NRMA's new Safer Roads panel got.

Within minutes of the start of yesterday's media launch, panel members were discussing problems such as the region's decaying timber bridges, the erosion of state funding for regional roads and the need for better east-west road links across the region.

The 13-member panel, one of nine being set up around the state by the NRMA, is being asked to identify the region's 10 most urgent road issues, which the NRMA will then ask the Government to fix.

As panel members sat down yesterday to a mocksession for media, Kyogle mayor and Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils president Ernie Bennett leapt into some of the issues aggravating his and other councils.

Mr Bennett said Kyogle was struggling with timber bridges which had all been built around the same time and were now all reaching the end of their lives.

The other issue facing councils was the re-classification of roads from state to regional and from regional to local, putting the cost of maintaining them onto councils.

NRMA director Wendy Machin said the panel's list could include any roads issues, from the Pacific Highway to Kyogle's bridges.

The NRMA would fund research on roads nominated by the panel. That research would form the basis of reports showing the safety and economic benefits of improving the roads.



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