“As a local resident who uses this road multiple times per day, I find it hard to believe that a road that is so frequently used by so many, can be always in such an appalling condition. This road is has loose shoulders, making it dangerous when sharing road with another vehicle, it has huge deep potholes, and terrible corrugations. It creates huge amounts of dust for the poor people who reside on it, and is dangerous in general. Just can’t believe it has taken so long to address.” Local resident; Glengarry
A Change.org petition started by Russell Northe in 2018 to seal Black Tank Road, Glengarry, has gained 236 signatures, as the road is considered dangerous as a high use thoroughfare. This road adjoins the Rail Trail, which is a popular walkway – however, users suffer being covered in dust when walking/cycling along the stretch. The community feel that this road is responsible for damage to their vehicles and road accidents over a long period, as farm equipment, school buses, milk tankers, trucks, emergency service vehicles, cars and motorbikes regularly utilise this unsealed section of road as a thoroughfare. The Glengarry community is growing; the population at 2016 was 1084 residents – up from 692 people in the 2011 Census. The fact that a major thoroughfare is unsealed is unacceptable, especially as this community is growing rapidly.
A similar story can be heard out at Yinnar, regarding Creamery Road. Concerned residents and farmers speak of the many accidents on this busy thoroughfare, which is also still a gravel road. Unfortunately, this situation is the result of a lack of State Government funding for country roads and bridges in regional municipalities, and limited capacity for the Council and residents to fund these projects.
In addition, feedback from the community shows concern for unsealed roads posing an unacceptable health risk to people living close-by. There are currently no Australian Standards for environmental levels of respiratory dust or crystalline silica and as such, results are based on occupational or workplace exposure standards. People living on unsealed roads feel that these occupational or workplaces exposure standards are not applicable to a residential setting where they live, as opposed to an 8 hour work day: which is what they are based upon.
Latrobe City Council desperately needs the funding to seal these dangerous gravel thoroughfares. In my view, it is appalling that it is nearly 2020, and yet we still have busy thoroughfares as gravel roads, in regional municipalities. I call on the State Government to reinstate the country roads and bridges program for regional municipalities, who can then use funds to upgrade these dangerous gravel roads. The State Government must be compelled to provide Latrobe City Council with $1 million to contribute to the costs of upgrading these two roads, as an urgent priority.