Coun­cil given $11M to fix 300km roads

Stanthorpe Border Post - - NEWS -

IN MARCH the South­ern Downs was im­pacted by ex-Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie. While our wa­ter sup­ply ben­e­fited from the heavy rain­fall, some of our lo­cal roads did not, sus­tain­ing sig­nif­i­cant dam­age.

Due to the high level of dam­age, and the op­por­tu­nity to re­ceive sup­port through the Nat­u­ral Disas­ter Re­lief and Re­cov­ery Ar­range­ments (NDRRA), the coun­cil did not at­tempt to fix all the dam­age im­me­di­ately, in­stead un­der­tak­ing only suf­fi­cient re­me­dial work to en­able the con­tin­ued use of the dam­aged roads.

I would like to pass on my thanks and ap­pre­ci­a­tion to those res­i­dents who have shown such pa­tience, driv­ing on these roads that have un­der­gone only tem­po­rary re­pair.

If the coun­cil had un­der­taken to fully re­pair these roads im­me­di­ately, it would have been at our ratepay­ers’ ex­pense.

All lev­els of gov­ern­ment – lo­cal, state and fed­eral – are fully aware of the cost of restor­ing roads dam­aged by flood­ing and know that it is be­yond the ca­pac­ity of lo­cal coun­cils and ratepay­ers, and we are for­tu­nate that fund­ing is set aside un­der NDRRA.

Dur­ing the past six months, coun­cil staff in con­junc­tion with NDRRA rep­re­sen­ta­tives have un­der­taken an ex­ten­sive dam­age as­sess­ment of the re­gion’s road net­work and found that ap­prox­i­mately 300km of roads sus­tained dam­age from ex-Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie.

The coun­cil has now re­ceived ad­vice that the Queens­land Re­con­struc­tion Au­thor­ity, which has over­sight of NDRRA, has ap­proved re­con­struc­tion work projects in the South­ern Downs.

The coun­cil has re­ceived ap­proval for $11 mil­lion in fund­ing so far, and the coun­cil has made fur­ther sub­mis­sions for which ap­proval is ex­pected in the short term.

This is in ad­di­tion to the funds that coun­cil ex­pended im­me­di­ately after the disas­ter to re­store crit­i­cal road in­fras­truc­ture and con­nec­tiv­ity.

The coun­cil has also lodged a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of sub­mis­sions for bet­ter­ment fund­ing for disas­ter-dam­aged roads, which, if suc­cess­ful, will see sec­tions of those roads re­stored to a more re­silient stan­dard than pre-disas­ter con­di­tion.

While it would be great to say that ev­ery road will now be re­paired im­me­di­ately, that is not pos­si­ble and it is an­tic­i­pated that the disas­ter re­con­struc­tion will take ap­prox­i­mately 18 months.

Work on your road may not start to­mor­row, but it will be re­paired and it will be done as quickly as pos­si­ble in a sys­tem­atic and pri­ori­tised man­ner.

Re­pair work will be un­der­taken by coun­cil staff wher­ever pos­si­ble and there will be a need to en­gage con­trac­tors in an ef­fort to re­store our gravel road net­work to pre-disas­ter ser­vice lev­els as quickly as pos­si­ble.

On un­sealed roads, mo­torists are urged to drive to the pre­vail­ing con­di­tions, re­gard­less of their fa­mil­iar­ity with the route, as road sur­faces can vary even in the best con­di­tions.

Once again, please ac­cept my thanks for your con­tin­u­ing pa­tience and un­der­stand­ing as this re­con­struc­tion work takes place.

— Tracy Do­bie, South­ern Downs Mayor

PHOTO: FILE

Mayor Tracy Do­bie.

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