Northern Grampians Shire Council is confident the reinstatement of sections of its road management plan will result in an improved road and bridge network across the entire municipality.
Council was forced to suspend section 10 of the Road Management Plan and also section 54 of the Road Management Act, due to the damage caused to the road network by extensive flooding in September 2010 and January 2011.
Section 10 of the plan sets out a requirement for inspection of the roads and for identification and rectification of defects on the network.
Infrastructure Manager for the shire, Bruce McClure, said this was suspended following the floods.
"The floods throughout the shire were amongst the highest in recorded history, causing considerable damage to the road network," Mr McClure said.
"Inspection of the roads after the January 2011 flood identified damage to local roads to be in the order of $18 million. Total damage to community and council property from the flood events totalled $29 million."
Mr McClure advised that the restoration of roads was now basically complete and it was anticipated that more than 95% of all major flood restoration works would be completed by December this year. Any remaining works would not impact on the Road Management Plan and its requirements.
He said it would be pleasing for the Road Management Plan to be reinstated.
"Council's resources have for some time been redirected back to undertaking all routine tasks including rectification of defects in accordance with council's Road Management Plan," he said.
"Consequently, the suspended sections of the Road Management Plan can now be reinstated by council."
Mr McClure said as the majority of the flood recovery works are now complete, there is no reason for council to still retain the suspension of Section 10 of Council's Road Management and to not be able to comply with Section 54 of the Road Management Act.
Cr Kevin Erwin said he saw the reinstatement of the plan as a positive for the shire.
"It really is a happy occasion for us," he said. "Reinstatement of the plan means that we have basically completed all flood recovery works on our roads, so this is the next step.
"The plan was suspended after the floods, because the roads and bridges were not in the condition they should have been due to the flooding. They have all now been reinstated thankfully.
"Our challenge for the future is to continue to maintain the roads in that good condition. It will be a challenge to come up with the required funding for that to happen as well. That's the challenge facing all councils at present.
"I think our engineers and works crew need to be congratulated for getting the road network back to the condition it is in today."
Cr Karen Hyslop agreed the recovery works had resulted in the shire's roads being second to none.
"I travel around quite a bit and I think we have some of the best road around," Cr Hyslop said.
"We are very fortunate in that area."
Mayor, Cr Wayne Rice, said opportunities would now exist for council to improve the road and bridge network even further.
"The only downside to this was that we could only reinstate the damaged roads and bridges to their original condition, not improve them," he said.
"Now that has been done, we can reinstate the Road Management Plan and start planning ahead to improve the road and bridge network."