25 Apr 2018 Seymour Telegraph, Seymour VIC (General News) by Gus McCubbing The Coalition would help rehabilitate council-maintained roads such as Avenels Upton Rd by reviving the $160 million country roads and bridges program Member for Euroa Steph Ryan said about $1 million in grants would be provided to Victorias 40 rural shires, including Mitchell and Strathbogie, each year for four years if the Coalition is elected in Novembers state vote. Fowles Wine chief executive officer Matt Fowles said while he was glad Strathbogie Shire Council successfully pushed for the speed limit on Upton Rd to be cut from 100 km/h to 80 km/h, the condition of the road remained a daily concern for him and his family. We would have hundreds of people a year servicing vineyards, cherry farms and chook yards up here, and the road is just not right for that level of traffic, Mr Fowles said. Not to mention the heavy trucks that come in and out of farms, with livestock, feed, and other haulage, he said. Theres spots on the road where there are trees within 1 m of the road, so if youre passing a big truck, you have to actually stop and let them pull off. I guess through the lens of a father with kids on the school bus, you just notice this stuff so much its pretty shocking when you actually dig into the detail and live it every day. It frightens me every day, so I make my little girls sit at the back of the bus with a seat belt, because its just nuts. Mitchell Shire mayor Rhonda Sanderson said council maintained a 1383 km network of sealed (668 km) and unsealed (715 km) roads. The shire welcomed the Coalition commitment to reinstate the country roads and bridges program and deliver $4 million to local roads in our municipality if elected, Cr Sanderson said. The program ceased in 2015 and the loss of these funds has had an enormous impact on our ability to keep up with the maintenance of our ageing road infrastructure. Strathbogie Shire mayor Amanda McClaren agreed and said her council manages more than 2000 km of roads of which 1500 km are gravel roads. There is also more than 500 bridges and major culverts. We are a small rural shire with approximately 7000 ratepayers carrying the cost burden of maintaining an enormous number of assets, Cr Sanderson said. Council unsuccessfully applied for black spot funding in 2016 and for the local roads to market funding in 2017 for the upgrade of Upton Rd, Cr McClaren said. It has been identified by us as a strategic freight route and its situation in Avenel is typical of the challenges country councils have to face. Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said the Nationals have a poor track record when it comes funding for roads. When in government the Nationals hid in a corner when the Liberal Minister slashed the road maintenance budget by more than half and cut 450 VicRoads jobs, Ms Symes said. I continue to work with country councils and support their priority projects. Caption Text: Community worry: Member for Euroa Steph Ryan and Fowles Wine chief executive officer Matt Fowles are concerned about the condition of council-maintained roads like Avenels Upton Rd.Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.