MidCoast Road Strategy Presented To Council

MidCoast Council

The MidCoast Road Strategy was presented to Council this week, detailing the condition of Council’s road network as well as the challenges and opportunities for improving it.

“We have a very large road network extending 3,600km, with roughly equal parts sealed and unsealed,” said Mayor Claire Pontin.

“Our community has consistently identified the need to improve our roads.

“We have prioritised road maintenance, investing around a quarter of our annual budget on our road network as well as seeking State and Australian Government grant funding.

“However, we recognise there’s more work to do. The Road Strategy provides us with an in depth understanding of the condition of our roads and what it will take to bring our network up to a condition that meets community expectation.”

The Strategy shows that more than a quarter of the sealed road network has significant cracking. Timely maintenance is fundamental to ensure a road can achieve its useful life. Decades of historically poor bitumen resealing frequencies by local governments on the MidCoast means the underlying road structure has been inadequately protected over many years. This makes it more susceptible to potholes and leads to more costly repairs.

Extreme weather, including heavy rain and flash flooding has also put pressure on the road network. Inflation and the related increases in material and labour costs are among other challenges Council faces.

A key part of the solution is fully funding the resealing cycle annually. The estimated shortfall is $26 million, with a further $8.5 million for additional maintenance. Without this investment, our road network will deteriorate a further 25% over the next ten years.

Current maintenance funding is not keeping pace with inflation or traffic and infrastructure growth. Addressing this funding shortfall forms part of the Financial Sustainability Action Plan which was also adopted at this week’s Council’s meeting.

The MidCoast Road Strategy identifies a range of actions that are required to ensure the road network doesn’t deteriorate further as well as actions required to improve the network. The extent to which these can be applied will depend on funding.

“The Strategy will form the basis of discussions with the community around funding and desired levels of service,” explained Mayor Pontin.

“It will also form the basis of continued lobbying to other levels of Government for a better roads deal for Councils. We now have the data to support our arguments.”

“We need a more sustainable model that allows a strategic and proactive approach to management and care of our network in the short and long term.”

The MidCoast Road Strategy is available on Council’s website at https://www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/road-strategy.

/Public Release. View in full here.