'Crunch time' for Maria River Rd, says progress association

Tradespeople no longer want your work, suppliers won’t take the risk with their deliveries and you take your life into your own hands when driving it.

Welcome to Maria River Rd, which links Crescent Head with Port Macqaurie’s North Shore.

In the continuing campaign to have the contentious roadway at the very least upgraded and at best sealed, residents have said the road is now at its most dangerous.

And the latest photographs from residents showing the extreme damage to their vehicles should, hopefully, trigger something in response from council, says North Shore Progress Association president Kingsley Searle.

“This is now crunch time and we really need to have something done about this road,” Mr Searle said.

“The association is concerned that drivers are taking to the road and basically living on a prayer.

“We are just lucky no one has died on that road.

“The coast of the damage to people’s vehicles is enormous. Every car that drives that road will get some form of damage.”

“We want something done, not in the future, but we need something done now.”

Mr Searle said there was anecdotal evidence where tradies had knocked back thousands of dollars in work rather than travel the dangerous stretch of road.

He was also concerned that GPS systems show the stretch of road as a normal, navigable road and as an alternative to the highway.

“Don’t forget too that if the Pacific Highway is blocked, the Maria River Rd is the alternative route for a by-pass,” he added.

Mr Searle confirmed that the association and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council have been in regular dialogue, including a recent meeting which was described as ‘encouraging’.

“The council acknowledged there is a problem with the road and they are looking at all avenues to address the problem,” the progress association boss said.

“The real issue with the road is that the foundations of the road are not good. So each grading of it only increases its poor quality.

“Council needs to come up with a long term fix to the problem which includes a sustainable, long term strategy and solution.

“A good start would be to talk with Kempsey Shire Council and take a coordinated approach to grading.”

Both councils are currently undertaking grading works on the road. 

A Port Macquarie-Hastings Council spokesperson said grading commenced on April 18 and would take a couple of weeks to complete.

“The Maria River Rd is the highest priority for grading,” the spokesperson said.

Kempsey Shire Council’s director of infrastructure services, Robert Scott, told the Argus that similar work was underway on Kempsey’s portion of the road. 

“Kempsey Shire Council began grading Maria River Road on 10 April, with the work currently 80 per cent complete. It is expected to be finished by the week ending 5 May, weather permitting,” Mr Scott said.

“Council inspects all of the gravel roads in the shire on a six-week cycle with roads graded or re-sheeted on risk based needs in order of priority.”

This story Potholed track a wrecker first appeared on The Macleay Argus.