ROAD PATROL: This 1951 Morris J van was a patrol vehicle and is now part of the NRMA historic road trip display. INSET: A 1923 NRMA badge.
ROAD PATROL: This 1951 Morris J van was a patrol vehicle and is now part of the NRMA historic road trip display. INSET: A 1923 NRMA badge. Samantha Elley

Covering the country

MUDDY SITUATION: One of the photos as part of the NRMA historic display. This is Thomas George Wenham in Casino in 1933.
MUDDY SITUATION: One of the photos as part of the NRMA historic display. This is Thomas George Wenham in Casino in 1933. Contributed

THANKS to the NRMA, country people have managed to survive some of the worst roads imaginable for the last 90 years. Now the organisation has recently been on the road itself to celebrate it's birthday.

Deputy president Wendy Machin joined the three-day trip that started in Taree and last week visited Eric Box, the NRMA representative in Casino for the past 21 years, along with an historic display showing the longevity of the organisation.

"I just wanted to acknowledge our country guys and take the chance to say thank you for their work," she said.

"We couldn't visit all our locations but Eric has been with us for some time now."

Ms Machin said feedback from people regarding the tour has been great with many wonderful stories told of NRMA's work.

"We had one NRMA representative called to help a man with a prosthetic leg," she said.

"The screws on the leg had come loose and he needed to tighten them before the gentleman could get back in his car and drive it.

"We have so many stories like that."

Ms Machin said the recent NRMA report on roads and bridges from local councils showed the North Coast alone had a back log of road work to be done worth $1 billion, nearly a quarter of the NSW figure of $3.96 billion.

"This is just to bring the roads to a satisfactory standard," she said.

"This doesn't take into account improvements, such as bike lanes or road widening.

"The (Pacific) highway is getting better but our concern is that rural roads are going backwards and deteriorating."

Ms Machin said Mr Box is still seen as a new kid on the block in terms of being an NRMA representative.

"We have some whose families have taken over the business and been running it for the past 70 years."

Road Costs

Cost to bring rural roads to a satisfactory standard:

Richmond Valley - $6.2m

Kyogle - $27.2m

Tweed Heads - $49m

Clarence - $167m



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