The Technical Committee held a successful meeting in Cooktown on Wednesday 15 May 2013 after an inspection of several LRRS and projects as follows:
• Cairns' Barron Gorge Road rock fall structure project (completed)
• Cairns' Redlynch Intake Road major culvert project (in progress)
• Cairns' Cooper Creek bridge project on the Cape Tribulation Road (completed)
• Cairns' "Switchback" project on the Cape Tribulation-Bloomfield Road (completed)
• Woobadda Creek & Bloomfield River on the Cape Tribulation-Bloomfield Road (future projects)
• Cook's Jones Creek bridge project on the Bloomfield Road (completed)
From left, Barron Gorge Road Rockfall Protection Barrier, Noah Creek Bridge on Cape Tribulation Road, and the Bloomfield River crossing.
Tenders closed for construction of the new Bloomfield River crossing in late May. Contract award is expected by the end of June and possession of site is expected to be granted in mid-late July. Both these dates are subject to Ministerial approval and the successful contractor's works program. At this stage construction is not likely to be completed prior to Christmas 2013.
Well .... possibly the best news in the past month has been confirmation the Woobadda Creek crossing is definitely proceeding! Cairns has agreed to fund any costs over the allocated funding budgets and negotiations are in train with Cook for construction. This is a good example of regional collaboration. The project is expected to commence in the next few months and be completed prior to Christmas 2013. This project has been quite a few years in gestation and it is very satisfying to see it finally come to fruition.
The Federal Government has asked Cassowary Coast Regional Council to submit a formal application for their proposed $1m funding for the project which Cassowary Coast has duly completed. A few details about the road are listed below:
• The road is approximately 19km in length within Cassowary Coast and is currently closed to traffic and has been since 2007. It becomes the Kirrama Range Road (open) and then Gunnawarra Road (open) within Tablelands Regional Council linking to the Kennedy Highway just west of Mt Garnet.
• It actually commences at its intersection with the Kennedy Creek Road approximately 6.7km from the Bruce Highway at Kennedy, south of Tully.
• There are 11 single and double span bridges (one repaired to date) and 218 culverts on the Cassowary Coast section.
• A works program has been developed which will incorporate bridge repairs, minor landslip repairs, gravel resheeting, minor seal repairs and vegetation clearing (particularly around culvert outlets).
• Works would more than likely commence approximately two months following notification of funding approval through the Federal Government.
The Ootann Road sealing project is one of the bigger projects on the books at the moment. It is of $4m in value and is 50% funded by the former Regional Safety and Development Program and 50% funded by Tablelands Regional Council. It is currently being constructed out by two works crews from Tablelands and is well advanced.
• The Roads Alliance Board has considered all feedback from RRGs for the proposed TIDS "One Bucket" funding model, and a communiqué on the approved structure will be issued shortly. The TIDS policy and Roads Alliance' Operational guidelines will be amended accordingly. The model will come into effect for the 2014/15 financial year.
• TIDS allocations to RRGs from 2014/15 onwards have been under review by the Roads Alliance Board and notification of these is expected in August 2013, in time for the program development phase for the 2014/15 – 2017/18 period.
• The RRG Boundaries Review has been put on the backburner until after 1 January 2014, when the new de-amalgamated Councils are established. Voluntary changes will still be considered and accepted by the Roads Alliance Board.
• The Roads Alliance TIDS was only 58% spent across the state at the end of April which is of concern to the Roads Alliance in these times of fiscal restraint. It also needs to be remembered this is 58% of the "cut" budget, which was trimmed by 37% in late 2012. Fortunately FNQRRG has met and exceeded the expenditure targets for 2012/13 already.
• Unfortunately the Roads Alliance Board meeting scheduled for 24 May had to be postponed due to unavoidable clashes for some members. FNQRRG currently has a Statewide Capability Development Fund application (associated with the Joint Reseal Contract) under consideration. A decision is expected on this in early June however.
With a number of claims submitted in the past month I am pleased to advise that FNQRRG is now above 100% expenditure for both its Roads Alliance TIDS and SafeST TIDS categories. Some 2013/14 expenditure has been claimed which explains the "above 100%" figure. The former RSDP program is expected to be very close to 100% come 30 June 2013. This has been a good achievement by all members and holds FNQRRG in good stead. HOWEVER THERE IS STILL SOME TIDS PROJECT FUNDING TO BE CLAIMED IN 2012/13, SO IT IS IMPORTANT THESE ARE SUBMITTED BY 14 JUNE.
FNQRRG has assisted Burke Shire Council (NWQRRG) retain its full works program across 13/14. Due to unforeseen delays Burke was unable to deliver a $300,000 Roads Alliance TIDS project in 12/13. As with the Gladstone "swap" mentioned in the last newsletter, a "swap" was done whereby Cairns will claim an extra $290,000 in 12/13 of 13/14 funding, and Burke will retain its project in 13/14. It should be stressed that this transfer is still subject to Roads Alliance Board approval.
The Technical Committee is currently working on developing a more practical and alternative Statement of Intent for the LRRS. The SOI is effectively a strategic plan / asset management plan for each LRRS link. Cairns will be the "guinea pig" for its trial use.
Just a reminder for all Councils to submit any updated traffic counts on the LRRS network please.
The next FNQRRG Technical Committee meeting will be held in Etheridge Shire at Georgetown on Monday afternoon 8 July. This will be the first meeting with new members Croydon and Etheridge and the opportunity is being to taken to inspect the Etheridge LRRS network in conjunction with the meeting.
Etheridge has the following LRRS network:
• Forsayth-Einasleigh Road – 68.1km, approximately 40km sealed (Council)
• Undara Road, GDR to the resort – 14.12km, all sealed (Council)
• Forsayth Road, Georgetown to Forsayth – 40.45km, approximately 23km sealed (TMR)
• Gregory Developmental Road, GDR to Hann Highway – 119.82km, all unsealed (TMR)
Etheridge has also nominated the North Heads Road – Agate Creek Road link to be added to the LRRS network which will be travelled during the inspection.
• FNQRRG - Monday 12 August 2013, Cooktown (venue TBA) commencing at 1.30pm following the FNQROC Board Meeting
• FNQRRG TC - Monday 8 July 2013, Etheridge Shire Council, Georgetown commencing in the afternoon following LRRS inspections