Post-flood roadworks get go ahead

ALMOST 18 months after the first of two floods wreaked havoc across the Southern Downs, massive restoration works are finally in sight.

During a council meeting yesterday, it was heard that about $28 million worth of federally-funded works would be carried out on the region's roads between September this year and June next year.

A total of $18 million has already been approved and carried out in the region since the disasters.

The council issued a call for expressions of interests from suitably qualified contractors at the end of last month, with the deadline being met yesterday.

The applicants will soon be whittled down to the three top contenders, before one successful contractor is named in late September.

During a council meeting yesterday, Councillor Jamie Mackenzie questioned whether it would be possible to obligate the successful contractor to use local workers.

Director of engineering Peter See said while council factored local business and industry participation into its selection criteria, making it mandatory could be counter-productive.

He said restricting work to local people could make it harder to meet the June 2013 deadline and could mean local people were not able to access local tradespeople for quite some time.

"Given the scope of things, there's certainly going to be a lot of outsiders working here too," Mr See said.

The work is to be carried out on local roads, which were severely ravaged during the two rounds of flooding.

Mr See yesterday said the council would provide the successful contractor with a preferred supplier list, naming local quarries, bitumen suppliers and other contractors the council usually deals with.

Mr See conceded that "75 other councils" would currently be on the hunt for contractors, which could have an impact on the number of qualified contractors who are willing to take on the jobs.

The councillors yesterday discussed the fact only the flood-affected areas of some roads would be repaired, which may invoke some public scrutiny.

Mayor Peter Blundell said he had no reservations about explaining the situation to the community.

"I would much rather answer the question of why we did some and not all, rather than why we didn't do any," he said.

In deciding on a suitable contractor, the council will consider such qualities as the contractor's track record, price and value, capabilities, experience and their approach to the project.

A shortlist of tenderers is expected to be compiled by early next month, with a closing date for tenders in mid-August.

It is anticipated council will select a contactor and execute an agreement in late-September and work is to be finalised by June next year.

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