South Burnett councilor Gavin Jones said road crews will focus on fixing drainage to extend the life of our rural roads.
South Burnett councilor Gavin Jones said road crews will focus on fixing drainage to extend the life of our rural roads. Michael Nolan

Clear path for more repairs

FOLLOWING increasing frustration about the slow pace of road maintenance, South Burnett councillor Gavin Jones said he would push for changes to how the process is approached.

Rather than spending time and money laying fresh gravel on low volume rural road roads, Cr Jones wants to focus on fixing the drainage and patching poor quality black soil sections.

At a public meeting held in Kumbia on Wednesday night, Cr Jones said in the past the council laid fresh gravel only to have it wash away in a the next storm due to poor drainage.

"If we don't get that drainage and table drainage right, don't even waste your time forming a road up because all you're doing, if you don't get that drainage right, you're turning the roads into a drain," he said.

By running what Cr Jones called a "low-maintainance grade", the council get the cost of repairs down to about $7-12,000/km as opposed to the 50-80,000/km it costs for a full gravel re-sheet.

"You can do you low maintenance grade with a grader, a water truck and a roller, you don't need the rest," he said.

He said this would increase the amount of road they could repair from 50-60km/year to about 200-250km/year.

"Eighty to ninety percent of our serious complaints only need a maintenance grade, if done properly," Cr Jones said.

"We don't need to spend $50,000 on all these side roads, these feeder roads."

Cr Jones laid out his proposal at a meeting organised by South Burnett residents dissatisfied with the state of the road network.

Residents met with Cr Jones, Mayor Keith Campbell, Cr Ros Heit and Cr Terry Fleischfresser to highlight damaged roads in need of attention.

Cr Jones said the proposal was about getting to problem roads quicker.

Other cost saving ideas floated at the meeting included re-opening the gravel pits scattered around the district to cut down on transport costs.

Cr Jones also said consultation between staff and the landholders that border rural roads during maintenance was needed, so they could access local knowledge about how water moves after a storm.

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