EXPLAINED: Why we will never have city-quality roads
POTHOLES -- it's the issue that never goes away in Byron Shire.
At the time of the March state election, all three candidates confirmed the state of our local roads were one of the top three issues raised with them during the campaign.
According to the latest council budget, out of every $100 council spent, $34 was invested in the shire's roads, the highest proportion of any activity.
We put the call out last week hoping to get to the get to the bottom of Byron Shire's pothole problem asking: "Why are they making our lives a misery? Should we even care? Were our roads made badly in the first place? Is this what happens when you build a town on a swamp? Are they a safety issue? Should we really spend all council's money and time on fixing them?"
As well as garnering a lot of angry and sad face emojis, most wanted more done sooner to fix the problem.
Byron councillor Jan Hackett chipped in online saying: "All the above are pretty right. Build badly on a swamp and expect it to survive over use? Not possible. All we can do is gradually build better roads that might last longer and meanwhile lower our expectations of what we can do about it. Even if we spent every last cent available to us we can't expect city road quality. Meanwhile there are other priorities."
Byron Shire Council's director of infrastructure services, Phil Holloway, said some roads around the shire were not constructed correctly when they were first laid down during the last century.
"Once the surface of a road cracks water gets in and with cars and heavy vehicles running back and forth over the crack, water is effectively pumped in washing out the pavement materials underneath leading to a pothole," he said.
But he argued that the council's special rates variation was being put to good use with $2.125 million going towards road reconstruction and re-seals this year with $600,000 of that going to gravel re-sheeting and heavy patching.
Mr Holloway said the council was also working to secure money from the $25 million promised by the National Party as a Tourism Impact Fund for Byron Shire during the state election with 80 per cent of that money earmarked to fix local roads.