THERE is a section of Gregadoo East Road (pictured left) where drivers heading into Wagga come around a corner and are suddenly confronted with badly broken up road.
As of last Sunday, there were no road hazard signs to alert drivers to the high risk of their vehicles being damaged or, worse, the potential to cause a serious crash.
Motorcyclists, in particular, would be vulnerable to a crash at this location.
The only inference from this lack of signage at an obvious danger spot is that the road damage in the Wagga City Council local government area is so extensive council has run out of warning signs.
This is no criticism of council, but simply an example to illustrate the extent of the crisis facing the Riverina’s roads.
Put simply, our road network, in places, is deteriorating at an alarming rate towards third-world standard.
One only has to drive around the region to see how bad the roads are, including Canola Way between Coolamon and Grong Grong, the Wagga-Coolamon road and the Wagga-Tumbarumba road.
All these roads – and many, many others in the Riverina that are falling apart – are vital to the upcoming harvest and the delivery of vital goods and services to businesses.
The situation has gone way past the point of us being annoyed by potholes. Whole sections of road are at the point of complete failure.
While it is easy to blame the wet weather – and it must be conceded we have had one of the wettest winters on record – local government engineers as far back as the mid 1980s have been warning of a looming roads crisis because of a lack of government funding.
The dire predictions of those experienced and respected engineers that unless much more money was spent on the roads the system would collapse are not far from coming to pass.
Only experts know the real cost of rehabilitating our failing roads, but the bill will be in the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars for the Riverina alone.
The federal and state governments have promised to chip in a few thousand dollars in the form of natural disaster funding.
But the time has come for a comprehensive audit of the rural road system and a commitment to bring the roads up to an acceptable standard as soon as possible.
A cheap and only temporary patch up job will not be accepted by the community.