Farmers with potential gravel resources on their properties could hold the key to improving rural roads as Horsham Rural City Council looks to establish new quarries in the municipality.
With the region’s gravel supply becoming scarce, HRCC is contacting private landowners to see if they would be open to having their gravel resources excavated and used for road maintenance.
Infrastructure Director John Martin said his department would soon write to selected landowners to garner interest.
“Council is interested in finding new gravel pit locations that would minimise impact on residents and farm operations, while providing enough locally sourced gravel to maintain about 2000 kilometres of unsealed roads in the municipality,” Mr Martin said.
“If we can source our gravel close to home, it will reduce the significant cartage costs we will otherwise have to pay, and ultimately allow our maintenance budgets to go further over the longer term,” he said.
Any agreements would be contract based and subject to a range of conditions including being at least 100m away from any residential building.
Compensation such as royalties would be paid and land management and rehabilitation plans would be put in place.
“Front of mind is the fact that this needs to be done with consideration to residents living in the vicinity of any potential new quarries,” Mr Martin said.
The first step for potential sites is for testing to be carried out.
Two cylindrical samples need to be taken using an auger at a depth of two metres underground and a diameter of 200-300 mm. Council will take responsibility for the disturbed area and ensure it is returned to a suitable condition, to the landholder’s satisfaction.
This year Council is spending more than ever before on maintaining and upgrading rural roads, and our crews have many projects still to be completed across the winter months.