An assessment of road safety barriers in the Byron Shire has found that 50 per cent are in poor condition and it would cost $2m to bring them up to a satisfactory level.
Following revelations that Council had been underspending on road surface repairs, an audit by Council staff has found that 295 of the Shire’s 590 safety barriers had serious faults.
A further 10 per cent were deemed ‘fair’ while the remaining 40 per cent were in ‘good condition’.
‘The progressive renewal of roadside barriers is currently unfunded,’ Council officer Blyth Short said in his report.
‘Urgent repairs are funded from the annual road maintenance budget. In these circumstances the overall condition of the road side barriers will continue to decline.’
Common faults affecting the road barriers included incorrect height, a non-functioning barrier system, indicators being in poor condition and wire rope not being properly tensioned.
‘Consideration will need to be given to the potential reallocation of funding to support a progressive and long-term road side barrier renewal program,’ Mr Blyth said in the report.
‘Ideally, the ten-year Long Term Financial Plan could include $200,000 per annum for the ongoing capital renewal of the Shire’s poor condition roadside barriers.’
Acting mayor Michael Lyon acknowledged the need for Council to fix the safety barriers, but said it reflected the fundamental problem of the state government failing to provide Byron with a fair share of tourism revenue. ‘The state government has been very pro-tourism, but they haven’t given us the tools to deal with that,’ Cr Lyon said.
‘We’re about to undergo a budget review process for next year and already there are conversations about who’s going to miss out because there’s only so much we can do. This [road barriers] is an area that’s going miss out until we deal with the underlying structural issues.’