Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) is encouraging the community to report defects on the road network by lodging a customer action request on 6746 1755 or filling one out on line at http://www.lpsc.nsw.gov.au/index.php/liverpool-plains-shire-council-customer-action-request.
In a report to Council, LPSC Engineering Services Manager, Sally Rozemulder said that four years of extremely dry conditions followed recently by several months of exceptionally wet conditions had seen the road network deteriorate in places to standards that are not acceptable to the community.
“During the dry, maintaining gravel roads was impeded due to a lack of water making it difficult and costly to complete maintenance and re-sheeting work on the network. The sealed network also suffered from the inability to access water required for construction and heavy patching programs. To help overcome these problems into the future a 22,000 litre water tanker was purchased recently,” Ms Rozemulder said.
“The rains that have followed caused ‘gully rakers’ with causeways and road pavements being damaged and washed away. The impact of heavy rain has highlighted areas with an inadequate thickness of gravel due to the previous constraints on gravel re-sheeting. Drainage issues, not readily identified during dry periods have also become apparent,” she continued.
Ms Rozemulder pointed out that current funding levels for gravel re-sheeting will only allow the network to be maintained on a 36 year cycle when ideally re-sheeting should be undertaken on a 10 year cycle and even more frequently on heavily trafficked roads. She said that if Federal and State Governments continue to freeze and cut back grant funding the problem will be further exacerbated.
“Road maintenance staff have been working towards rectifying the worst issues based on Council’s roads hierarchy and an informal risk assessment process. To expedite repairs staff are working overtime, contractors have been engaged and some casual labour has been recruited to assist with maintenance. These works are being funded under the existing maintenance budget, however if further events occur and natural disaster funding is not forthcoming Council will have to further consider the financial implications of maintaining the network,” she said.
“In the coming 9 months, staff will be reviewing all of Council’s Asset Management Plans prior to consideration by Council, public exhibition and adoption. This review will include general maintenance of roads, gravel re-sheeting frequency, heavy patching programs and causeway construction program. They will be reviewed to reflect the road hierarchy and to ensure that roads that are important transport routes, such as freight and school bus routes are serviced sustainably. Based on this information Council will need to consider the financial implications, the level of service that is affordable, satisfies community expectations and is sustainable within resource limitations. ” she continued.
“Residents can greatly assist this whole process by lodging a customer action request to help Council develop a better understanding of the damage caused by recent rains and any other concerns. Reality is that with finite resources of funding, staff and machinery we can’t deal with every issue immediately but it will help us prioritise what is required and to plan accordingly,” Ms Rozemulder concluded.
To expedite road repairs staff are working overtime, contractors have been engaged and some casual labour recruited.