Some residents and holiday-makers believe the condition of the Diggers Camp road has never been worse.
Some residents and holiday-makers believe the condition of the Diggers Camp road has never been worse.

Valley's worst road

A SIX-KILOMETRE stretch of gravel road between Wooli Road and Diggers Camp has been rated as the worst in the Clarence Valley.

The Daily Examiner has received a letter from Brisbane man, Ken Wilson, claiming the condition of the Diggers Camp road is dangerous, inadequate and the worst in the Valley.

He said almost the entire length was severely corrugated, full of blind corners due to high vegetation, and four-wheel-drive vehicles intimidated smaller cars on the road.

Mr Wilson went on to suggest the gravel road was a death trap, pointing his finger squarely at the Clarence Valley Council and its alleged poor maintenance of the road.

Upon receiving the letter, the Examiner went to Diggers Camp to see if residents of the village shared Mr Wilson’s concerns.

After a bumpy ride up the road it wasn’t hard to find people keen to have their say.

Some residents said they did not have a problem with the road, claiming if people drove slowly at between 20-30kmh, it was relatively safe to use.

The legal speed limit on the road is 100kmh.

The same residents said the road was used by a significant amount of wildlife including coastal emus, quails, snakes, echidnas, wallabies and goannas.

If the quality of the road was improved or even sealed, people would drive even faster on the surface, which would be devastating for wildlife.

“All people have to do is slow down and if they don’t like it, they don’t have to come here,” one resident said.

But other residents were keen to express how dangerous the road is at the moment.

One man said he had changed two flat tyres on his vehicle in a week after the corrugated road caused damage.

Another spoke of a man who had a head-on collision in his vehicle last year with a car driving around a blind corner on the wrong side of the road to avoid potholes.

Full-time resident Jane Paxton described the road as an absolute nightmare.

Not only did it cost Mrs Paxton thousands of dollars worth of damage to her vehicle, she said it was dangerous and getting worse every year.

“We knew we’d be living with a dirt road when we bought here but it has never been this bad,” she said.

“For those of us who live here full-time it’s a big issue and it’s really getting people down.”

Mrs Paxton said council graded the road up to three times a year, but it didn’t last and within a week or two the potholes and corrugations returned.

“What it needs is a good engineer to look at it and find out why they (council) are spending all of this money on it and it’s only lasting a week,” Mrs Paxton said.

Clarence Valley Council manager of operations Tim Jenkins said the road was resheeted up to three times a year which involved adding a layer of gravel to the road and grading the surface.

He said gravel roads were subject to change from weather conditions and traffic use.

In reply to concerns from some residents that the road base had deteriorated, Mr Jenkins said council once had access to a shale-based material nearby. Mr Jenkins said that when the quarry was deemed to be in a national park, it was closed down and council had to revert to the next closest material, which was gravel from Pillar Valley.

Council traditionally graded the road before the Christmas holiday period but residents said it then needed to be done again after the high traffic load of summer.

Mr Jenkins could not confirm when the entire road would next be graded but he said council was happy to look at carrying out the work after the holidays.

Mr Jenkins also confirmed council was putting more gravel on a section of the road in February-March at a cost of $20,000.

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