POTHOLES: Acting mayor of Byron Shire Council Michael Lyons.
POTHOLES: Acting mayor of Byron Shire Council Michael Lyons. Scott Powick

Potholes aren't going away just yet

ANYONE who has lived in Byron more than 10 minutes knows what the number one local issue is potholes.

Of course, it goes deeper than that (pun intended), as the underlying condition of the roads and the high rainfall mean that simply filling them is a very short-term solution.

What is needed is an investment, conservatively, in the region of $100 million dollars over the next 10 years.

We in Council are working hard on finding this money, and put our best foot forward prior to the state election by providing infrastructure backlog data to all parties in an effort to elicit promises.

All colours of political flag promised money and with the Coalition winning government, they have come good on theirs, committing to a minimum of $5 million per year over the next four years.

This will supplement council's increased spending due to the special rate variation and will see significant reconstruction of roads over this time.

The question I have raised recently is, given how long it will take to bring all our roads up to a satisfactory condition, are we willing to suffer the potholes until then?

My view is that I don't mind driving on a bumpy road, but I detest hitting holes without warning. It's enough to ruin your day, not to mention your suspension.

Our maintenance program is not sufficient at the moment to keep the holes at bay and I am arguing as part of the current budget review that we increase our maintenance budget to fill holes more regularly, even though as we know, they return with alarming regularity.

We haven't had a particularly rainy year lately though and I would hate to imagine how our roads might look and feel if we did.

The end result of the increase might be that it takes 12 years to fix our roads, rather than 10, because money spent on maintenance is not a smart spend versus that spent on reconstruction.

But it might just be worth it, especially when taking into account safety aspects of swerving to miss potholes and the potential costs to road users when hitting them.

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