BALLARAT drivers should expect more potholes and fewer workers to fix them following deep cuts to Victoria’s maintenance plans, say the union representing VicRoads’ engineers.
Motorists driving to Ballarat between Ballan and Gordon are already being warned to slow down and take care because of increased potholes, which VicRoads said was due to recent wet weather.
This also comes as the Baillieu government prepares to cut about 450 jobs from the road authority.
Victorian director of the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia, Bede Payne said Ballarat’s roads were particularly susceptible to damage.
“There are a lot of roads in the Ballarat area that are patched lightly rather than completely re-asphalted,” he said.
“They’re the roads that are most at risk, that deteriorate the fastest and that VicRoads may not have money to repair.”
The APESMA claim that cuts to VicRoads maintenance plans mean non-arterial roads are at risk of being graded and turned into gravel rather than being patched and repaired.
“VicRoads, according to their own guidelines, should be resurfacing eight per cent of Victoria’s roads each year, however last year they got to six per cent and this year it’s been very difficult and they are now targeting 2.4 per cent,” Mr Payne said.
Roads Minister Terry Mulder would not respond to the new target claimed by the APESMA, but said that during the last two years road maintenance funding had been boosted by one-off flood recovery funding.
“Not only is the budget for 2012-13 road asset management more than the amount allocated in the budgets of the previous Labor government, the Coalition government allocated $695 million for road network improvements in Melbourne and across Victoria,” he said.
VicRoads acting regional director Mick McCarthy said VicRoads funding distribution to regions varied from year to year, but that in the past 18 months a number of major flood and storm events had occurred throughout the state including in Ballarat, causing many roads to deteriorate more rapidly than usual.
VicRoads have scheduled 42 kilometres of resealing works and 15 kilometres of rehabilitation works on arterial roads across Western Victoria this financial year, including Ballarat-Carngham Road and Ballarat-Maryborough Road.
A City of Ballarat spokesperson said that road conditions were similar to other years where there had been persistent rainfall throughout winter.