An expensive hour’s work for councillors

SDRC putting extensive works for the region.

At a meeting that lasted less than an hour, the Southern Downs Regional Council approved more than $14 million across just three projects for the region.

As well as the long-awaited Warwick Saleyards approval, the council resolved to spend nearly $4.777 million on pavement stabilisation for the region’s roads and close to $2.42 million on the Wheatvale Betterment Project during its special meeting on 6 November.

The council had received pre-approval from the Queensland Reconstruction Authority to use Restoration of Essential Public Assets (REPA) funding under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements guidelines as well as other funding through Local Roads and Community Infrastructure, Local Recovery and Resilience Grants and the Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme.

This meant the council could repair larger segments of road through stabilisation processes rather than a less successful process of doing smaller patches.

Although seven roads were investigated, two would miss out unless additional funding was secured. The roads in the running for the works were Lyndhurst Lane, Freestone Road, Jack Smith Gully Road, Freestone Creek Road, Swanfels Road, Willowvale Road and Mt Marshall-Clintonvale Road.

A council report stated the roads were selected based on the extensive damage incurred during the declared disaster events of 2022 and their importance in the road network hierarchy.

Lyndhurst Lane, Freestone Road and Jack Smith Gully Road were expected to be stabilised using foamed bitumen which would give strength and resilience to the surface, while Freestone Creek Road and Swansfels Road would receive a cementitious blend.

Willowvale Road and Mt Marshall-Cliftonvale Road would miss out on the current contract because of budget considerations and even without the two roads a shortfall of $54,726 was expected but could be funded through other flood recovery funding. Stabilised Pavements Australia Pty Ltd has been awarded the tender.

The Wheatvale Betterment Project, jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Government with a co-contribution by the council, was awarded to Bellrise Investments Pty Ltd for the sum of $2,417,999 for improvements to Wheatvale Plains Road and Connells Bridge Road to better protect them against future flood events.

The work will remove the existing culvert, construct 220m of foamed bitumen stabilised floodway and road protection works at Wheatvale Plains Road. At Connells Bridge Road, a temporary pavement will be removed from the bridge approaches and new concrete approaches will be built, along with rock protection works.

The roads were selected for the project because of the extensive damage they receive during flood events. Wheatvale Plains Road was an approved heavy vehicle route while both roads provided essential connections through the region, the council report said.