Flood-ravaged roads need $1B for repairs

The devastation of record rainfall in southeast Australia last month has seen roads damaged across Victoria.

As floodwaters slowly recede in regional areas of the state hundreds of kilometres of roads have been severely impacted.

Damage ranges from small, medium and large potholes, through to entire swathes of roadway having been lifted up and literally washed away.

This week the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) released a statement in which it estimates up to $1 billion may be needed to reinstate damaged road and rail networks.

The VTA is also urging all sides of federal and state politics to come together with a plan and additional funding for the work that lies ahead.

Current Victorian budget allocations for road safety, maintenance, repairs and upgrades, according to VTA CEO Peter Anderson, are already committed to projects that were in place before the floods.

Significantly more is now needed.

“We estimate between $500 million and $1 billion will be needed to fix our flood devastated transport networks, which includes gazetted routes operators rely on to carry freight,” Anderson said.

“This funding must be additional to project allocations in the state budget, and as politicians traverse Victoria contesting the election, we’re looking for meaningful announcements on fixing the damage that’s been done, and we’re looking for it urgently,” he said.

While it is mainly state road infrastructure that has been damaged, the impact will be felt nationally according to Anderson who said an extraordinary repair bill will need to be addressed by state and federal governments.

“We are already seeing evidence of how national supply chains have been compromised with farmers struggling to get their goods out of regional Victoria to the ports and on to interstate and international markets,” he said.

“The flow-on effect will be felt leading up to Christmas in the form of higher consumer prices and a shortage of supply,” added Anderson.

The increasing likelihood of personal injury and lives lost was now a reality
once an inevitable spike in accidents from damaged roads was factored in according to Anderson.

“Our road authorities are doing a magnificent job quarantining motorists from damaged roads, but the size and scale of this event means accidents will unfortunately happen,” he said.

“The risk of this is felt most by the road freight industry that is acutely aware of its obligation to its customers and the Australian community to keep our supply chains moving as safely as they can.

“This underscores the urgency of the task ahead, which is why we’re advocating for rapid evaluation, development of a repair strategy and the qualifying of cost with the support that a plan will be acted upon to make our regional roads safe and operable as soon as possible.

“Until that happens, every road tragedy created by the condition of the roads from this point will burn on our collective conscious,” Anderson said.

In other news, researchers at the University of Technology Sydney have developed a technology that is being touted as a major breakthrough in the mitigation of potholes.

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