Ballarat council is facing a multi-million dollar repair bill as a wet winter wreaks havoc on potholes across the city.
Ballarat residents have called for more pro-active action from councillors to deal with the growing number of dangerous potholes emerging in the city’s streets.
Three consecutive months of above average rainfall have taken their toll on local roads, causing numerous dangerous potholes to emerge and local residents have raised questions about the City of Ballarat’s priority of fixing roads.
Many took to social media over the weekend criticising the dire state of the city’s roads.
While others have used the opportunity to raise concerns over driver safety, with many damaging wheels after hitting deep potholes while travelling around the city.
“They (City of Ballarat) patch them up and after a heavy rainfall they (potholes) return. I hit a massive one a month or so ago, damaged my wheel rim as well as the hubcap is missing,” one Facebook user wrote.
“Ballarat is a joke for potholes, never seen a city so bad,” another user wrote.
With approximately 1000km of roads in the Ballarat area, and one block of road costing between $200,000-$250,000 to re-surface, Councillor Vicki Coltman said the cost alone meant roads could not be completely replaced.
“All councils are suffering from lack of funding to fix their roads. We get funding, but it’s not enough,” she said.
She said while council have spent more money on roads in the past three years than ever before, a lack of investment over an extensive period of time has meant roads across the city are in a bad way.
“It’s 30 years worth of councils not spending money on roads,” she said.
The Courier asked readers where they thought the city’s worst potholes were and more than 30 roads were identified, with Norman Street, Hertford Street and Creswick Road some of the most complained about hotspots.
In a recent letter to the editor, Ballarat Central Ward candidate Will Bennett said he noticed concerning road quality deterioration in a number of areas across the city and didn’t believe the city had been sufficient in their response.
Speaking with The Courier on Sunday, he said while he understood short-term fixes - such as quick filling the holes - were cheaper, it did not stop the roads deteriorating further and creating bigger problems in the future.
He also raised questions whether money spent on projects such as the controversial harmony roundabout, which will be relocated after a petition campaigning its removal proved successful, and a proposed $1 million water slide, could be better spent on local roads.
“It’s hard for residents to accept councillors going overseas – which in some cases can be justified – and spending money on unnecessary things, when they go out their front doors and see potholes in their roads,” he said.
But Cr Coltman said while some called on the council to consider pumping the funds into more pressing projects, money was always earmarked for a water slide to replace the aging slide at the Eureka Aquatic Centre.
As for the city’s roads, she said there was never going to be an easy fix.
“Roads are complicated,” she said.
“Water gets through in quantities and destabilises what’s underneath.
“Generally what happens is we patch it up and monitor it... but because of scheduling it might take three to four years for us to fix it.”
Within the CBD she said $100,000 had been set aside to widen the bitumen by a metre to stop potholes appearing on the shoulders of the streets.
The five-year project will see 6-10 blocks completed each year.
A new strategy to deal with maintenance of rural roads has also been adopted.
But she said many roads within the shire were owned by VicRoads which meant council needed to wait for permission before fixing any.
Residents are urged to log any potholes with the City of Ballarat.
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