Port Macquarie-Hastings Council: Rural road maintenance and management

Rural roads: The six and 12 month grading programs cover the majority of the council’s unsealed network.

Rural roads: The six and 12 month grading programs cover the majority of the council’s unsealed network.

Rural roads could get a funding boost.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council will consider the inclusion of funding for increased works on rural roads in the development of the 2018-2019 operational plan.

The general manager has been asked to provide a briefing to councillors in early 2018 on the management of rural roads including any opportunity to seal unsealed rural roads. 

A report went before the November 15 council meeting in response to a question from Cr Sharon Griffiths about rural road maintenance and management.

Cr Griffiths said quite a few rural communities had approached her with safety issues.

Cr Turner said the sealing of unsealed roads was an issue he had been speaking about for quite some time.

He said every rural community was passionate about getting their roads to an acceptable standard.

Cr Mike Cusato stressed the importance of rural roads.

He said if the council was going to seal a road, the community needed to understand the reasons behind that.

Cr Griffiths’ question dealt with how safety was taken into consideration in the management of rural roads and how maintenance of rural roads was prioritised.

The response said the council used a risk-based approach to allocate available resources.

The council considers all public safety issues by appraising risk, prioritising repairs and managing the entire road, bridge and stormwater network.

Risks within the road network are primarily determined by three major factors that include the location of the hazard, road hierarchy and the physical description of the hazard.

Bridge risks are also managed through the council’s bridge management system.

The road hierarchy considers factors such as the road function, traffic volumes, community connectivity, industry value and tourist value.

Of the 145 roads listed in the hierarchy, 75 sit outside of the Port Macquarie area and four are unsealed roads.

The six and 12 month grading programs cover the majority of the council’s unsealed network.

There are also slashing and outreach mowing programs.

“Available resource and the cost and extent of roads maintenance and renewal works required across the local government area often result in customer requests for roads maintenance not being able to be repaired immediately, or in the short to medium term,” the council report said.

“It is critical that the inspection and prioritisation process for treating customer requests for road repairs is consistent, transparent and primarily serves the overall community interest.”

Meanwhile, Janette Jones, representing the Rollands Plains Community Group, spoke in the council meeting’s public forum session about the rural roads at Rollands Plains.