Residents of the Meroo area are calling for action to improve the quality and safety of their local roads - particularly Queens Pinch and Green Gully.
A recent community meeting of over 40 locals arrived at the consensus that the roads are now used more frequently than in the past and need to be reclassified and upgraded. Queens Pinch and Green Gully roads were top of the list - because they service the school bus routes and are in need of repair - but others of concern included; Campbells Creek Road; Bocoble Road; McMurrays Lane; and Windgraves Road.
Among those at the meeting was George Hamilton, who said, "the state of the roads is just atrocious and unsafe".
"It's getting to point where even the buses are having real problems with taking the kids to school. And twice they've had to have the parents pick the kids up in the last 12 months," he said. "We've got stock carters having trouble because the trees are over the road. There's already been several car accidents because of the road surface - something has to be done about it."
He added that the grading schedule hasn't been kept. The group would like to see the status of the road upgraded due to the now higher population of the area [SEE BELOW].
"With the new wind farm and the tourism coming into Mudgee people are going out of Mudgee," Mr Hamilton said. "We get caravans on this road and they can't make it off the middle and locals have to pull over and let them through. There's going to be a big accident sooner rather than later.
"The road needs to be upgraded to a situation where it gets funding from the federal government, because we've got more people in the area now than at any other point in time. Big farms have been split up into blocks, there's weekenders who come up, there's guys who live on 100 acres who work out at the mines - and they're all ratepayers."
A Council spokesperson said that the current dry conditions are prohibiting most of their normal grading program and they're asking drivers to please be patient and drive to the conditions on unsealed roads until such time as grading is able to be carried out effectively.
"So while Queens Pinch Road is due for grading and Council agrees it would benefit from maintenance, experience shows that grading roads in the current conditions can make the condition worse," they said. "Water is a key component of achieving effective grading as it ensures compaction of the material being graded."
Council has commenced roadside tree trimming on sections of Queens Pinch and Pyramul roads, after securing $300,000 through the Drought Relief Heavy Vehicle Access Program, the intention of the grant is to improve safety and access for heavy vehicles providing drought relief activities including hay, stock and farm machinery delivery.
How roads are classified
Regional Roads are routes of secondary importance between State Roads and Local Roads, which together with the former, provide the main connections to and between smaller towns and districts and perform a sub arterial function in major urban areas.
In our area, the current Regional Roads are Ulan Road, Bylong Valley Way, Hill End Rd, Gollan Road, Cope Rd, Wollar Road and Hill End Road.
For a roadway to classified 'Regional' a number of requirements must be met such as traffic volumes. The determining body for this classification is the State Government.