When rideshare driver Nick Peters got sick of picking up passengers stranded after hitting potholes, the next thing he picked up was a spray can.
“It’s just so people can see it on the road, and people can go around it, and it saves them blowing out a tyre,” he said.
On the New South Wales south coast where he works, the roads are soaked, and the Eurobodalla Shire Council is struggling to keep up.
“Tourists come in to the area and have completely blown out both tyres sometimes, and it’s put them off the road for a few days while they’re getting their car fixed up,” Mr Peters said.
Road repair teams in the shire have filled more than 3,000 potholes on local roads since March and patched 3,370 square metres of road.
But despite the challenges, the council, like many others across the state, are pleading with people not to take matters into their own hands.
Mayor Mathew Hatcher said while he understood the frustration of motorists, road crews were gaining ground on the problem.
“Council would prefer if people did not enter the roadway to spray paint on it — it’s in everyone’s best interests to stay off,” he said.
“We’ve done thousands of pothole repairs across the shire already, but we know there is 10 times that which needs to be done, and we’re getting to it as quickly as we can.”
Roads riddled with holes
It is a similar story in the state’s north, where local councils in areas worst hit by the March floods are also struggling to keep up.
One of the hardest hit regions is Lismore City Council, which estimates 90 per cent of its road network has been damaged, with a repair bill of up to $400m.
Lismore tyre repairer Matthew Millard says he is seeing as many as 70 punctures a day.
The record in his store is one customer who came in three times in one week.
“Another lady has had to replace all four tyres within six months,” he said.
And while that might sound like booming business, Mr Millard said it is having the opposite effect.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” he said.
“It’s keeping us busy, but the mark-up we can put on a puncture is not great; it’s more of a complimentary service.
“We find ourselves running around trying to do 50 punctures a day but also do our normal work.”
Officials try to reassure frustrated motorists
In a statement, Transport NSW said it had filled more than 50,000 potholes on the state’s highways since March, and still had thousands to go.
But while the main arterial roads are recovering, local roads, which are the responsibility of local councils, are still very wet.
“Things aren’t drying out as they should, and with the amount of issues that we’ve had, the task at hand is epic,” Mr Hatcher said.
Some road users are frustrated with what they describe as a bandaid approach to the issue.
“They’re filled in temporarily until the next downpour of rain, and then they’re basically back to where they were a month back when they were fixed up,” Mr Peters said.
He wants long-term solutions as La Niña conditions continue, and signs to be put up to warn motorists.
“And the bandaid solution ain’t working,” he said.
“The community feels a sense of frustration.”