Roadcare program on the right track

The region’s transport network was highlighted as a key priority at the time of the merger, and now, eighteen months on, roadworks remain firmly in the spotlight for MidCoast Council.

It’s the number one priority for the local community, and MidCoast Council’s greatest challenge. It’s the condition of local roads and bridges, including a pre-existing infrastructure backlog valued at $180 million and an annual shortfall of $5 million for renewals. But a determined Engineering and Infrastructure Services team at MidCoast Council has tackled the challenge head-on, investing almost $5 million to date in works that have delivered tangible improvements for the local community.

Harrington Road, Diamond Beach Road, Combined and Dennes Streets in Wingham, The Bucketts Way in Tinonee, and Victoria and Commerce Streets in Taree are just some of the areas already targeted for rehabilitation.

And coming up over the next 12 months is another busy schedule that will see significant improvements right across the region. Some of the works already scheduled or underway include Hadley and Townsend Streets in Forster, Albert, Muldoon and Pulteney Streets in Taree, Queen and Hume Streets in Gloucester, Boomerang Drive in Blueys Beach, Manning Point Road at Mitchells Island, sections of Old Bar Road, The Lakes Way at Charlotte Bay, Avalon Road at Krambach, and Blackhead Road at Hallidays Point.

MidCoast Council’s director Engineering and Infrastructure Services, Ron Hartley looks forward to maintaining the momentum achieved so far, with an extensive roads program to be rolled out over the next five years.

“Through merger funding and savings, we’ve been able to establish a Roadcare Program that will contribute $30million towards addressing our transport network over four years”, he said.

“This will be supported with special rate variation funds, and an intense focus on securing additional, on-going grant funding, to dramatically reduce what’s been a long-term issue for the region both pre- and post-merger”.

The special rate variation (SRV) was introduced on July 1 this year and is dedicated exclusively to addressing the condition of the region’s roads and bridges.

It is anticipated that additional funding from the State Government of up to $50 million may be secured off the back of the SRV, which if successful, will double the value contributed by rate-payers to improving local roads. The end goal, according to MidCoast Council, is to bring the region’s asset backlog back in line with the State Government guidelines which allow for a backlog of just 2% of the value of the total asset base.

“Securing the SRV this year was a real win for the community in terms of addressing one of its primary concerns”, Ron added.

“One of the requirements of our proposal when applying for the variation was to quarantine funds for the express purpose of improving our roads network, so any chatter about diverting the SRV to other projects is misplaced”, he said.

Along with urban reconstruction and rehabilitation works, the 2018 schedule includes rural and regional works, bridge renewals, resurfacing works, drainage works, and gravel resheeting.

An update of current works is presented as part of each monthly Council meeting, and the full schedule is available on the MidCoast Council website at www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/Roads

“We’re pleased with the progress to date, but acknowledge we have a long road ahead”, Ron said.

“We’re proud to be delivering a strong and robust program to improve our roads and bridges into the future, and have appreciated the fantastic support from our community as we continue to forge ahead”.

For information about current roadworks in your area, visit www.myroadinfo.com.au