After more than two decades building and repairing south-west roads, Albert Turner says there’s not much he doesn’t know about maintenance and construction.
Mr Turner spent 23 years with the Country Roads Board, now VicRoads, and he shakes his head at the current state of south-west roads.
In the past, Mr Turner said three crews were based in the area, repairing damaged roads quickly.
“There’s a lack of money now meaning we can’t do the sealing works that we’ve done before. There were a lot of roads being done and a lot of kilometres being done and now there’s next to nothing,” he said.
“It’s all right for them to say drivers be more careful… there’s too much being blamed on the people, it’s the government that has to come out with the money and fix the roads and keep them good.”
Mr Turner said many south-west roads were in such poor condition that they required large-scale reconstruction.
“They’re getting too bad. If they think they can patch them up with a bit of bitumen, it’s a waste of time and it is very, very expensive. People are bashing their cars up and it’s getting dangerous.
“Trying to seal over them is just a band-aid. There’s no way in the world you can seal over some of these roads, they’re all out of shape and once the water gets in it’s goodbye to them.”
Mr Turner said vital funding was needed quickly.
“It’s very expensive to re-do a road. If they let them pack up they will never be able to keep up with them,” he said.
“What the government is putting into roads isn’t even enough to keep the maintenance up. It’s about time we got some sense out of somebody.”
VicRoads regional director Mark Koliba told The Standard earlier this month that significant time was spent designing roads for local conditions. “Different materials and techniques are used depending on the location.”
Mr Koliba said a very wet winter had hampered VicRoads’ maintenance program.
Meanwhile, Warrnambool City Council began its bitumen resealing program this week, which will work on more than 200 roads.