Orange City Council is drawing up the list of footpaths to be targeted for repairs following the allocation of $1.4 million over the next four years.
But Orange City Council’s Infrastructure Committee chair, Cr Glenn Taylor is urging the community to make sure their expectations for better footpaths are realistic.
“The council has heard loud-and-clear the community’s call for more spending on footpaths, and that’s why there’s a major jump in the budget spending,” Cr Glenn Taylor said. “Our works team now has a figure to work on, and I’m looking forward to seeing the list of footpaths set down for work in August.”
“It’s important though for the community to keep in mind the reality of what our footpath repair crews are dealing with already. I stopped by where a crew was working on footpath repairs in March Street. 
“We’ve all seen the paint marks sprayed on damaged footpaths. That’s a sign of routine inspections happening, which lets the council plan for major repairs, and also a caution sign for pedestrians. 
“It’s also a sign that by and large these cracks are happening right alongside our beautiful street trees. I love our trees, and they create a fantastic ambience for our city, but the reality is the roots of these trees will go wherever they can to find water, and that means it’s inevitable that nearby footpaths will be damaged.”
“Council crews will be doing our best to repair more footpaths, but the other side of the coin is that I’d like people to realise that a cracked footpath is an inevitable downside of our beautiful street trees, not a sign of council neglect.”
“I’m sure there are footpaths out there, which haven’t been damaged by tree roots, and which are simply past their useful life, and that it’s time to replace them. “
 When cracks in a hot-mix asphalt footpath are repaired, council crews remove the damaged asphalt in the area around the cracks and then carefully expose the tree roots. After assessing the potential impact on the nearby tree’s health and stability, a decision can be made on whether the roots can then be cut away before a new layer of hot-mix is added. 
Where a whole section of footpath is being replaced with a new concrete structure, a plastic root barrier is also added.
Cr Taylor said he was pleased there are signs the Orange City Council crews are exploring new ways of dealing with the damage caused by tree roots.
“Where a former asphalt footpath is showing signs of tree damage, it can be cost-effective to build a new concrete footpath along a whole section to replace it. That means root guards can be installed to slow down the impact of tree roots. 
“It’s good to see the council is also exploring using an industry technique to install a ‘hinge’ between the control joints of concrete slabs. This can allow some movement in the concrete paths caused by the future growth of tree roots.”