Wet weather sinks roadworks budget

TORRENTIAL rain has not only flooded and damaged roads, it has also drowned council's roads maintenance budget.

Director of Engineering Peter See told councillors at yesterday's engineering meeting his department had already spent 54 per cent of its budget by the end of last month.

Following the Daily News' roads campaign local councillors yesterday voted to write to both State and Federal Ministers to alert them to the shocking state of the region's roads.

Earlier this week, a spokeswoman for the Minister for Transport and Main Roads Craig Wallace confirmed he would accept our invitation to come on a guided drive and yesterday Cr Neil Meiklejohn urged his fellow councillors to write to the Minister before he gets to town.

On Warwick's Alexandra Drive alone, Engineering Services chairman Ross Bartley said he heard council had used nine tonnes of hot mix filler to repair gaping potholes.

Mr See said the rain had stretched the already-tight budget and left capital works – which include new projects as opposed to maintenance of existing roads – about five weeks behind schedule.

“As soon as staff begin work, they have rain,” he said.

“We may have to do a budget amendment over the next couple of months to postpone capital works.”

He warned councillors to prepare themselves for complaints as his road crews would only be able to carry out basic maintenance work.

South-east Queensland was declared a disaster area after recent flooding but it remains to be seen what, if any, funding will be available.

This, along with luminous warning signs at the exits of Warwick, was too much for Cr Jo McNally.

“I couldn't believe it when I saw a sign warning hazards for 40km, only to find out the hazard is the road itself,” she said.

“These are national highways and as a council we need to write to the Minister and tell him it's not good enough.”

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