Are Milman roads an accident waiting to happen?
When Lesley* leaves his Milman home to buy a newspaper from the Caves store, he leaves it until after 8am.
"I don't want to come across the school bus on its side and the kids injured," he said.
"The school bus, which starts its run about 6.45am, is sometimes forced off the road, over the camber, into the drain."
Lesley said the region had had its own council roads gang working out of The Caves but claimed since the 2013 deamalgamation, they were sent to work in Yeppoon instead, and road conditions deteriorated.
"The roads are all we get for our rates," he said. "We don't get water, we don't get kerbs and channeling, we pay our own environmental and fire levies."
Lesley said residents met with Livingstone mayor, Bill Ludwig, "two or three years ago" regarding the state of the roads, but that nothing had come of it.
Mayor Ludwig said a dedicated crew of seven employees at The Caves - equipped with graders, a roller, water truck and backhoe - assisted in servicing other areas when required but "predominantly requires operational in the Caves locality".
But Lesley said that, when it does visit, the gang uses substandard practices to get the work done on time rather than to standard.
"They put 100mm overlay on top of the road without even ripping the old surface a couple of years ago, and then the binder was rubbish, so it fell apart within days." he said.
"Then they had the hide to come back and dredge the same overlay out of the drains, full of grass and paper and tin, and put it back on the road - a quick wet, a couple of rolls and they were off."
Cr Ludwig said there was only one instance, in 2017, when an incorrect gravel type was used, and that was rectified by incorporating clean fine material from road side table drains into the imported gravel.
Lesley rents a few horse paddocks out to a mate who lost four brand new tyres in a month or two, "just from the rocks going through them."
According to Cr Ludwig, Livingstone Shire records indicate no reports of type damage in the past year, and residents should phone 49135000 to lodge any such complaints.
Lesley fears it's only time until another fatal accident. In April 2019, a 20-year-old Milman man when his vehicle rolled on Milman North Road.
"The bus route should be a priority," he said.
"The council's got a few million a year to run the paddling pool (Yeppoon Lagoon) which brings in no income whatsoever, but the primary producers who pay their rates have got nothing to show for it."
Kurt Rothery, who has driven the Milman school run for more than 20 years, said the company sends out its 4WD after the rains to see if the road is passable, and the route is sometimes closed.
"Drivers tell me there are times when the roads are really rough, and they have to zig-zag to get through the corrugations," he said.
"The running surface of all unsealed roads are subject to intervention at the same standard (i.e. roughness of 7.0)," he said.
Cr said while there was close to 800km of unsealed roads with the Livingstone shire, coucil strived to ensure the roads remained in a safe condition for motorists year-round.
He said council responded to residents' concerns as quickly as possible.
"Where there are isolated dangerous patches of roads reported, council's practice has been for these roads to be inspected and patched where required," Cr Ludwig said.
"I am happy for complainants to contact me directly on my mobile, and I will personally go and inspect the roads with them."
Residents are encouraged to visit Council's website to access its most recent road grading schedules (see below), which are updated every two months.
Road Maintenance Schedule - The Caves (Unsealed)
Last graded: September 2018
Future Grading Scheduled: July 2020
Last graded: September 2019
Future Grading Scheduled: April 2020
Milman North Road
Last graded: August 2019
Future Grading Scheduled: August 2020
Last graded: August 2018
Future Grading Scheduled: April 2020
* not his real name