IMPROVING the condition and safety of the local road network has always been one of the most important and at the same time most challenging tasks Kempsey Shire Council undertakes each year.
Council maintains 1250km of road across the shire, making the road network council's highest value asset.
But you might be wondering why certain roads get upgraded or maintained before others.
There are a variety of factors that go into council's decision making for upgrading and maintaining roads each year.
Council undertakes a detailed video-imaging and condition assessment of the road network every few years. This involves camera-equipped vehicles travelling on local roads over a four-week period to inspect the condition of the road pavement. One such assessment is currently underway.
This information allows council to identify roads most in need of maintenance or upgrading.
Other factors that form part of council's decision making include inspections of the network by staff, traffic volume data, specific safety issues on a particular stretch of road and feedback from the community.
Once roads have been selected, the individual road projects remain dependent on the availability of council funding, and for larger projects, attracting suitable grant funding from State or Federal governments.
Funded projects are then scheduled, with the availability of resources and weather and unforeseen events such as disasters or public health crises still able to cause interruption.
Roads scheduled over a financial year are listed in council's Operating Plan and the 2020-2021 Operating Plan was adopted by council in July.
One of the major roads listed in the plan is South West Rocks Rd, between Jerseyville and Kinchela.
The $4 million project is a combination of council and grant funding and will see the rehabilitation of a 7km stretch over a two-year period.
The upgrade, which will address current pavement issues, is due to start in the coming months.
Riverbank rock protection work is currently underway to stabilise the road in preparation of the upgrade and to protect it from flooding if the river rises.
The Hat Head Rd intersection along South West Rocks Road is also due for an upgrade this financial year. The work will upgrade the pavement and surface condition to improve safety.