Saturday, May 21, 2022

Smart and Vickery: No response re national expert

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Chris Oldfield, Naracoorte Community News

For more than a month, CEO Trevor Smart and Mayor Erika Vickery have not responded to questions relating to Australian Roads Research Board (ARRB) Chief Technology Leader, Asset Performance Tyrone Toole’s expertise.

Mr Toole has spent a lifetime building and researching roads around the world.

His long list of experience and skills include a Masters of Civil Engineering and he is also ARRB’s portfolio leader of asset modelling.

Additionally, Mr Toole is the main author of the Federal Government’s Best Practice Guide for Unsealed Roads – a manual for councils.

Given the cost of roads to a community and farmers over several decades, Mr Toole urges councils to call in experts before deciding on any desperate and costly measures like deleting or downgrading roads assets.

Mr Smart and Mrs Vickery were asked five questions on March 16.

1. Would your council consider seeking expert advice from an independent road building research company? One which can analyse, assess and suggest a way forward for your district’s roads?

2. Your plant operators do a good job to the best of their ability. Have any of your plant operators ever been offered opportunities by gravel road building experts? That is, to further their skills on grading and maintaining roads for maximum efficiency and longevity?

3. Have you considered the Australian guidelines of 100 – 200 cars a day before a road is sealed is perhaps a guide, and there is no one size fits all? Particularly in remote, rural and regional areas.

4. Have you considered a limestone base to a gravel or sealed road might offer a longer lifespan than other soil types? While I understand Cr Cameron Grundy again raised this issue at your February council meeting, no decisive answer was given.

5. Many of your roads have been downgraded and deleted off your road hierarchy once again, including Shuard’s Lane. Why? Have you considered the animal welfare and economic issues which result from your decisions?

Mr Toole has urged councils to seek expert advice before downgrading roads or ripping up bitumen ones and replacing them with gravel.

Through a series of articles being published by The News, Mr Toole’s advice for councils is when it comes to roads, “a stitch in time saves nine”.

Naracoorte Community News 11 May 2022

This article appeared in Naracoorte Community News.

Related stories: Road seals need accurate calculations; Councils warned: Don’t lose access; Councils urged to seek expert help; Human resources and equipment important for goods roads

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