Western roadworks caught short, but Orange fares better than others

AT THE READY: Orange City Council completes roadwork at Lucknow. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0627sgroad1

AT THE READY: Orange City Council completes roadwork at Lucknow. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0627sgroad1

DESPITE Orange’s potholes and uneven road surfaces, it has emerged from a statewide report with one of the lowest infrastructure backlogs in the state.

The NRMA has released a damning report on the state’s roads, with western NSW councils trying to cope with a $1 billion backlog.

However, the Orange local government area has to bring just $3.4 million in roads and footpaths up to scratch, the lowest of the 13 central west councils.

In comparison, backlogs in other LGAs include $27.9 million for Bathurst, $19 million for Blayney and $21.8 million for Mid-Western Regional Council.

The report also listed Orange City Council as spending the fourth lowest out of the central west councils, outlaying $1.6 million in 2012-13.

NRMA director Graham Blight said Orange performed well because many of its key transport routes were state roads, its small geographical size and concentration of population created a higher rating base, and the area had been unaffected by natural disasters.

“There are councils who just do not have the capacity to generate the money to cover the roads they have,” he said.

“Wagga’s copped a lot of severe flooding. Orange City Council’s managed it pretty well, but they might not have been filling in all the potholes they should have.”

Traffic committee chair and councillor Russell Turner was not surprised by the result, saying it was an endorsement of the relationship the council had developed with NSW Roads and Maritime Services.

“They’ve acknowledged that we are a growing city and we do have infrastructure problems keeping up with that growth,” he said.

The council’s backlog consists of $1.4 million in resurfacing, $766,000 for footpaths, $742,000 for roads with new foundations, $438,000 for kerb and guttering, $102,000 for bridges and $10,000 for gravel roads.

Council spokesman Allan Reeder said there would always be a backlog as roads were upgraded and others gradually wore out.

“However, it is encouraging that, compared to other councils, the size of Orange City Council’s infrastructure backlog compares very favourably,” he said.

“The extra resources that the council decided to put towards roads maintenance in recent years are reflected in that result.”

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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