Paving way: Footpath construction boost

Horsham Rural City Council is embarking on its largest ever investment into footpath infrastructure in its Draft Budget for 2022-23.

In direct response to community consultation calling for greater resources to be spent on critical infrastructure, a $583,987 budget will boost our footpath construction, maintenance and repair.

HRCC manages more than 176 kilometres of footpaths across the municipality.

Infrastructure Director John Martin said a lot of work went into the planning and assessment of footpaths.

“Next financial year HRCC will focus on streets in Horsham North where there are inadequate footpaths,” he said.

“There are major upgrades planned for Mary and Anderson Streets and many others in Horsham north, including the railway crossing area at Edith Street.

“In addition we will continue our general – across Horsham – program where we replace poor sections, such as those that have been badly cracked plus the random trip hazards that arise,” Mr Martin said.

The process of assessment, compliance, planning and the construction of footpaths is a costly and ongoing challenge.

As one section is finished, another is already in decline and other areas are waiting to be built.

“We have a combined length of footpath roughly equivalent to a continuous path from Horsham to Ballarat and, in a way, it’s like painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge,” Mr Martin said.

“As one section of footpath is repaired, others are moving, due to Horsham’s shrinking-swelling soils, creating the next batch of repairs.

“We have had an increased footpath program for the past two years. Up to date, a lot of that has been on an increased program to catch up on historic trip hazards and other defects that we have had around town,” he said.

Mayor Robyn Gulline said upgrading and maintaining our footpath network aligned with many of the key goals of the Council Plan 2021–2025.

“Recent feedback told us loud and clear we need to deliver on the basics. We’ve listened, and the level of investment in roads, rural roads, footpaths and drainage in the Draft Budget reflects that,” she said.

The Draft Budget will be presented for adoption at the June 27 Council Meeting.

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