Two key agricultural routes will be upgraded this year to be safer year round and accessible to large farm machinery in all weather conditions, after Council achieved almost $200k in funding, under the AgriLinks Upgrade Program.
Improvement projects on Aldous Road and Long Lane were identified as a priority for Council, given the importance of the agricultural industry to Mansfield Shire’s economic prosperity.
Mayor Cr Mark Holcombe explained that the roads in their current state are not suitable for the large farm machinery and heavy vehicle movement typically required of the surrounding farm operations. “Delivery of the agricultural roads upgrade program is another step being taken by Council to support our farmers and to keep our roads safer for all users, including nearby residents and visitors,” he said.
Manager Operations and Capital Works, Kristian Burchat, said the works would include excavation and installation of numerous culverts, shoulder and table drain reshaping to improve drainage and the installation of 100mm crushed rock re-sheet.
Council applied for the funding in September 2020 after consultation with the local branch of the VFF and with concerned farmers who had identified the narrow, local agricultural roads as a risk and an impediment to their business development. “It’s important that Council is listening to its business community and finding ways to support the local economy in its recovery post the bushfires and throughout the pandemic", said Mr Burchat.
Local farmers identified the narrow roads as a significant problem given the size of their machinery.
“Businesses have been steadily growing and having the local roads able to carry the big machinery, year round and in all weather conditions will save them time and money and be safer,” he said.
According to Mayor Holcombe, Council has a huge infrastructure maintenance and improvement agenda that far exceeds Council’s ratepayer dollar income. “It’s vital that we prioritise works in consultation with our community and leverage every opportunity to access external grant funding,” Mayor Holcombe added.
The $191,735 in funding comes from the Victorian Government’s AgriLinks Upgrade Program, which seeks to recognise the importance of local road networks and food sectors.