Walcha Council asks the community to be patient

Walcha Council is struggling to maintain the shire's gravel roads in the current weather conditions.

"Like everything else at this time water is the issue," said Walcha Mayor Eric Noakes.

"Anyone who has worked gravel understands that without water it is basically dust, and with all the regular water points unavailable due to being dry or needed for stock the grading of roads is futile."

Walcha Council director of engineering Dylan Reeves said the current difficulties faced by his team are unprecedented.

"We are having the biggest challenge that we've ever had in our area in terms of road grading," he said.

"We don't normally have major difficulties maintaining our unsealable roads and can normally get around and maintain what I believe is a high level of service."

Walcha Shire director of engineering Dylan Reeves

Walcha Shire director of engineering Dylan Reeves

Mr Reeves said one reason the last 12 months has been so difficult is that severe storms have often followed the dry weather.

"If you go for a drive you can see this powder on the surface of these unsealed roads," he said.

"What happens is when the water does come down it runs off and washes the finer and midsize materials off the road which leads to blocked culverts, and that makes the situation worse.

"When we go out there to try to repair the roads and do some grading the roads aren't holding any moisture themselves because the surface has all run off and there is nothing in any of the streams or dams where we have taken water from in the past. "

We are not ignoring those requests it is just the fact that we are facing enormous challenges with how dry it is

Dylan Reeves - Walcha Council director of engineering

Council wants the community to have a higher than normal level of patience with them when it comes to road maintenance.

"People are frustrated in some areas, and we understand that," Mr Reeves said.

"We are not ignoring those requests it is just the fact that we are facing enormous challenges with how dry it is and we are doing our best to address these safety concerns.

"Where it is just a complaint about dust and rutting and general wear and tear we are not as concerned. We've had examples of exposed culverts where the gravel has washed away so badly, and we are trying to get to these priority areas first."

The weather has also caused a few water main breaks owing to ground movements.

"The dry weather brings a heap of considerations in terms of delivering council work, but probably the biggest one is just the accessibility of water to do maintenance grading," said Mr Reeves.

"People don't understand how important it is to have water not only when you are building the road, but a drop of nice steady rain on an unsealed road keeps the surface tight and the fine materials on the road when the cars are driving over it."

This story The big dry affects the region's road works first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.