Roads

It's our job to maintain our network of sealed and unsealed roads as well as roadside vegetation in our shire; did you know that council maintains over 200km of unsealed roads and over 350km of sealed roads in our LGA?

As well as having these local roads, we also work closely with Transport for NSW in maintaining Waterfall Way which is a State owned road and managed by Transport for NSW.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Council prioritize which roads get renewed and when?

Council is currently working through its 10-year Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP). The LTFP addresses priority works across Councils road network of sealed and unsealed roads. Included are projects such as renewals of existing sealed roads, bitumen re-sealing, heavy formation grading and gravel re-sheeting of unsealed roads.

The higher priority projects from this list are included in the LTFP which is based on current and anticipated funding, to enable survey, investigation, and design work to be undertaken in advance of construction.

Several factors are considered when prioritising our Road Renewal program. Projects are assessed with a priority based on several factors, including:

  • Safety and crash history
  • Road condition 
  • Serviceability
  • Maintenance
  • The link the road has in the road network
  • Traffic volumes
  • Type of traffic (bus routes, commercial traffic)
  • Dust nuisance
  • Protection of the asset and
  • Other relevant issues such as the availability of external funding contributions

What is councils re-sealing program?

Each year, council conducts its re-seal program on various identified roads around our shire. We will reseal your roads during the warmer months. Works generally start in October and are completed by March. 

Most of Council’s roads are surfaced with a bituminous spray seal. The bitumen component becomes brittle over time and because of this, small cracks appear, surface stones are lost, and water seeps into the underlying road pavement causing potholes and soft spots. 

Resealing is a common preventative road maintenance technique where a new coat of bitumen and stone/ aggregate is applied over an existing surface. The road resealing program helps to keep maintenance costs down, extend the life of the underlying road pavement and minimise expensive pavement rehabilitation work.

It generally only takes one to two days to reseal a road, but the benefits are long-lasting. Resealing extends the life of local roads by around ten years by: 

  • Increased surface texture for better tyre friction
  • Sealing cracks in the existing surface to protect the pavement beneath from moisture, therefore minimising pavement failures and potholes
  • Preventing the existing surface from further oxidisation (UV degradation)
  • Maintaining the surface to a good condition

Preparation works conducted prior to the resealing program can include replacing damaged kerb and channel and drainage pits, repairing failed or failing areas of road pavement and addressing the shape of the road to ensure water runs off the pavement surface. Bitumen is then sprayed on the road to form the thin waterproof membrane, it is then covered with a thin layer of aggregate. The aggregate is rolled into the bitumen to protect the bitumen and form a skid resistant surface.

Why don’t you fix potholes instead?

A common concern from residents about the resealing program is that the roads on the list do not need fixing and that the money could be better spent elsewhere. While there are a number of roads around the local government area that have been identified for rehabilitation, this is a much more costly and time-consuming process. The resealing program is a preventative maintenance technique utilised to maintain the useful service life of road infrastructure. It is very effective in reducing ongoing maintenance and ensuring longevity of the surface. Without preventative maintenance like resealing, the life of the road is greatly reduced, and it’s more likely to develop potholes and other defects.

Parking is generally unavailable during the reseal process, although roads can often be open to local traffic needing to access driveways. To assist Council with undertaking reseal works, it is recommended residents make alternative parking arrangements and park off the designated street.

To view Councils resealing program, click here, Re-seal-program-2022.pdf

North Bank Road Sep 2022Hammond-Street-Oct-2022-3

Do council check our roads for damage and potholes?

Yes. Each road in our shire is inspected twice a year by our Asset Officers. The investigation generally consists of a visual inspection and Road Condition Assessment. Council uses an Inspection and Maintenance Management Software for the planning, recording and analysis of maintenance activities.

The data is used by our Asset Management Team to justify existing maintenance expenditure, develop future works programs, and manages the rectification of defects. Defects will be analysed, risk rated and prioritised under consideration of available funding.

Additional road assessments can be carried out based on Service Requests received from our residents. If there is a particularly dangerous section of road that requires immediate attention, please let us know by submitting a request here How can we help? Home of Bellingen Shire (nsw.gov.au)

How often does grading occur on an unsealed road?

Councils asset officers aim to inspect each unsealed gravel road twice a year to allow for prioritisation and programming of grading works in accordance with road priority, resourcing and approved budgets.

Our 2022 program has been heavily impacted by the recent flood events, meaning equipment, funding and resources were required to be re-allocated to flood response projects.

Council hopes to have our usual grading program running to schedule by 2023.

Unsealed gravel roads are maintained in accordance with council’s recurrent maintenance guidelines which sets out the level of service for routine maintenance (grading, drain cleaning and vegetation clearing/slashing etc).

If there is a particularly dangerous section on an unsealed road that you feel requires immediate attention, please let us know by submitting a request here How can we help? Home of Bellingen Shire (nsw.gov.au) or by phoning or emailing our Customer Service Department. 

Can I request an unsealed road be sealed?

Upgrading unsealed sections of our road network with bitumen seal is expensive and generally only considered when large scale grant funding is available, and there can be limited grant funding opportunities for sealing unsealed roads. 

In saying this, Council is continually looking for grant opportunities to assist in funding road renewals in our shire. Council has recently been successful in applications for grant funding through the Fixing Local Roads Program, which has provided funding for the upgrades to Northbank Road, Gleniffer Road and Lower Bielsdown Road. We were also successful in our application through the Remote Roads Pilot Program, receiving funding to upgrade Kalang Road.  

Did you know that our Shire has more than 200km of unsealed roads and to seal 1km of road would cost more than $160,000 per kilometre? 

Council understands that residents, business, and community groups may wish to progress the upgrading of discrete sections of roads outside of Council’s LTFP and as such Council have adopted the Contribution for Sealing of Unsealed (Gravel) Roads Policy. The Policy seeks to provide a framework for contributions in whole or in part to assist Council in expediting sealing of sections of the unsealed road network.

contribution-for-sealing-of-unsealed-gravel-roads-policy-v1.1.pdf

What is the Local Traffic Committee and what do they do?

Bellingen Shire Local Traffic Committee (LTC) meets up to four times a year to consider traffic related matters of a regulatory nature within the Shire. 

Members of the LTC are:

  • Deputy General Manager - Operations
  • Manager of Technical Services
  • Member of the Local Police
  • Community and Safety Planner from Transport for NSW and
  • Bellingen Shire Councillor

The LTC is a technical review committee which advises Transport for NSW on traffic related matters, however, does not have any decision-making power and is required to obtain the advice of TfNSW and the Police prior to proceeding with proposals on traffic related matters.

Community requests that meet a certain level of criteria can be added to the agenda to be reviewed. Click here to submit your request How can we help? Home of Bellingen Shire (nsw.gov.au) or phone (02) 6655 7300 and speak with our Customer Service Team.

Can I make a request for traffic advisory signage or speed cameras?

Traffic Advisory Signage

Requests for traffic advisory signage, such as 'slow down' are assessed by our Local Traffic Committee in conjunction with the Police and Transport for NSW. You can make a request for signage by clicking this link, How can we help? Home of Bellingen Shire (nsw.gov.au) or by phoning or emailing our Customer and Business Services Department and lodging a request.

Being able to detail the reasons for your request, supported by examples of driving behaviour/photos, is of assistance during the Local Traffic Committee's assessment process.

Speed cameras

Any request for speed cameras to be installed on NSW roads can be directed to Service NSW. The below link will take you to their website where you can nominate a speed camera location Nominate a speed camera location | Service NSW

Can I request for a speed limit to be changed?

Speed limits on NSW roads are based on standardised guidelines set by Transport for NSW. Speed limits should reflect the road safety risk, while maintaining the ability of people to get to their destination easily. Several factors are considered in establishing the speed limit, such as, crash history, width of lanes, road function, road characteristics and the presence of vulnerable road users.

Bellingen Shire Councils Local Traffic Committee can advise Transport for NSW on our shires traffic related matters, however, does not have any decision-making power when it comes to setting speed limits or implementing speed reduction methods. Requests for speed limit changes are presented to Transport for NSW if statistical data supports the request. 

Did you know that you can personally request Transport for NSW to review your request for a speed limit change without going through Council? To lodge a request to be reviewed, click the link to be taken to the NSW Government, Safer Roads website Have your say about speed limits - Safer Roads NSW

 

Upcoming Road Renewal projects

These project pages aim to provide the community with information on Council's major Road Renewal projects.  These capital works are more than routine maintenance and generally require significant funding and resources to complete.