THE Nambucca Shire Council is investigating ways to permanently identify steel star picket posts after a recent rash of thefts that it considers could put lives in jeopardy.
The council’s general manager, Michael Coulter, said 276 steel posts had been stolen in the past three months.
And while replacing them is a significant cost to council it’s the risk to motorists that has him most concerned.
“The posts are used to support signs which may display anything from a ‘bridge closed’ warning to ‘roads works’ cautions,” Mr Coulter said.
“But those signs are being left on the roadside by whoever has been stealing the steel posts,” he said.
Mr Coulter said apart from the cost of the posts there was the cost of staff time to replace them.
“Another risk for council is a potential claims arising out of an accident due to the lack of visible signage,” he said. “The main problem sites have been South Arm, Lanes and Broughys’ Bridges, Newee Creek Road, Valla Road and East West Road.”
Mr Coulter said council has reported the thefts to police and is looking at ways to permanently mark the posts so that they can be traceable.
“We see a lot of gratuitous vandalism and theft but considering the risk this creates for road users it is difficult to think of anything worse,” he said.