Horsham Rural City Council has pushed back consultation on a new blueprint for rural roads used by farmers, and stopped short of committing to upgrade Grahams Bridge Road.
At its Monday meeting, the council heard a question from McKenzie Creek resident Neville McIntyre, requesting the road be limestoned from Reynolds Road to Wonwondah East Road.
"My question arises from a phone conversation with Councillor (David) Grimble. He asked me how wet was Graham's Bridge Road: He did not want to drive his tractor on the highway as it was foggy.
"This jogs my memory of years beforehand when the Horsham South Victorian Farmers Federation branch asked the council to make (the road) an all-weather wide machinery road. This road services McKenzie Creek, Wonwondah, Laharum, Mockinya and Brimpaen.
"Will the council in the next budget allow for this road to be finished, to keep the wide machinery of the Henty Highway and Laharum Road?"
Infrastructure Director John Martin said he was unaware of an earlier request from the VFF on Graham's Bridge Road.
"The concept of establishing alternative routes for farm machinery is being developed as part of the council's Rural Road Network Plan, which is under development," he said.
"The community-based project control group for this plan has developed a series of preliminary maps of potential changes to the council's rural road hierarchy to address different purposes, including farm machinery.
"A draft plan for that purpose does include that section of Graham's Bridge Road."
Mr Martin said the project control had planned to start public consultation by now but had pushed this back to February 2021 in light of the pandemic.
VFF Wimmera president Graeme Maher said he did not recall a request on Graham's Bridge Road being made to the council. Nonetheless, he said rural roads remained a source of frustration for farmers.
"Everyone had their road of ill-repute," he said. "Mine is Murtoa-Glenorchy Road, which I know isn't in Horsham Rural City, but it's not uncommon to have three vehicles have cracked windscreens because of that stretch of road.
"Grahams Bridge Road... is a good road to get access from one side of the Western Highway to the other, to access machinery dealers, without going through Horsham. There are several stretches of road people travel down, Curran Road being another.
Horsham council's budget states it plans to spend $3.239 million this financial year on rural roads, which make up 93 per cent of its entire road network.
It is spending 14.7 per cent of its infrastructure budget on rural roads, compared to 10.8 per cent on urban roads.
The single largest allocation is $312,000 to West Wail Road.
The council also awarded the contract to rebuild the road, valued at just over $299,000, to M.F. & J.L. Willmore Contractors on Monday night.
Mackies Road, Victoria Valley Road, Telgangatuk East-Rocklands Road and Drung Jung Road are also being upgraded this financial year.
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