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WIMMERA-MALLEE roads are among the worst in rural Victoria an Australian Bureau of Statistics road safety report has revealed.
The report assessed the condition of roads using measures of roughness, rutting and cracking.
It revealed Yarriambiack Shire Council had the third highest percentage of rough roads in the state, with 18.4 per cent of roads considered unacceptable.
West Wimmera, Buloke and Northern Grampians also fared poorly in the report with 15 per cent of roads regarded as unacceptably rough.
About 10 per cent of roads in Hindmarsh Shire and Horsham Rural City were considered below the roughness par for rural roads.
The worst rutting, involving a depth greater than 10mm, was found in West Wimmera Shire with a quarter of roads affected.
Hindmarsh Shire, Horsham Rural City and Northern Grampians Shire all had rutting on at least 20 per cent of their roads.
The report showed the worst road cracking in Swan Hill and Buloke Shire, with 26.7 per cent and 20.8 per cent of roads damaged.
Buloke Shire had about 50 kilometres of distressed roads, while West Wimmera Shire had 32 kilometres, Yarriambiack Shire 25 kilometres and Swan Hill 24 kilometres.
Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty said the report would provide ammunition to put pressure on the State Government to act on rural roads in Victoria.
"I'm pleased to see this ABS report which has again highlighted the deficiencies of spending on country roads," Mr Delahunty said.
"I think it comes as no surprise to people who live in this area that our roads are deteriorating."
Mr Delahunty said Wimmera- Mallee roads would have been subject to worse conditions if the region had been wet during the last seven years.
"We've been raising country roads as an issue every week because it's not only a safety issue, but also an economic issue in terms of damaging vehicles and equipment," he said.
Mr Delahunty said it was vital the poor condition of rural roads did not become an economic disadvantage to people that use them.
Founding member of RoadSafe Wimmera Noel Austin, who is also a trucking operator based in Kaniva, said about 30 per cent of roads in West Wimmera Shire were `ridiculously' rough.
"A third need reconstruction right now, another third will need reconstruction within five years and the remaining third will also need work by the time the five years is up," Mr Austin said.
"Trucks are naturally bumpier to ride in and we notice it more, with rough roads causing fatigue which results in fatalities," he said.
Mr Austin said road conditions on the Western Highway east and west of Kaniva were the worst in West Wimmera Shire.
"East of Lillimur on the Western Highway is a disgrace; trucks are leaving the road surface and bouncing through the fence into paddocks," he said.
Mr Austin said the poor state of roads was a huge cost to transport operators because of stress on trucks.
"I spend a lot more money on the cost of suspension and shock absorbers, which are quite expensive and only last a fraction of the time on rough roads," he said.
This article first appeared on www.mailtimes.com.au
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