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Monday, August 29, 2005

'D' for disturbing roads

The Advocate Newspaper - Online Edition

COUNTRY roads have been given a "D" in Tasmania's first infrastructure report card, with the authors describing the state of country roads as "disturbing."

The report card was produced by the Tasmanian division of Engineers Australia, and its president Dan O'Toole said the bad marks should be ringing alarm bells.

"(Local roads) are in a disturbing state, given the increasing demands we're seeing on them," he said.

Concerns included road width, edges, potholes, pavements, skid resistance and visibility.

Mr O'Toole said local governments, which were largely responsible for country roads, tended to lack long-term infrastructure planning and so allotted funding on an ad hoc, annual basis.

He called for the establishment of a State infrastructure council made up of local and State government, industry and the community.

The council would encourage better co-ordination and could draft 20-year plans for roads.

RACT chief engineer Doug Ling said he was not surprised country roads failed in the report card, and welcomed the suggestion of a State infrastructure council.

However, Local Government Association of Tasmania CEO Alan Garcia said councils were already being encouraged to devise long-term plans for roads.

He said about half the State's councils were developing 10 and 20-year plans under LGAT's Tasmanian Asset Management Program.

Infrastructure Minister Bryan Green said there was already a State Infrastructure Planning Scheme in place.

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