Inspire : Public Works Nov Dec 2013
35 Up until mid 2012, the unsealed road network of the City of Greater Bendigo -- a large regional centre about 160km northwest of Melbourne -- was struggling to cope with increasing levels of traffc. "The council received a lot of community feedback that the gravel roads weren't in as good a condition as they'd like or expect," says Darren Fuzzard, the council’s Director of Presentation and Assets. With bigger farming machinery using the roads, and Bendigo's growing population bringing increasing traffc loads, their condition has deteriorated faster over recent years. This has resulted in erosion, dust generation and higher frequencies of grading -- in some instances up to four times a year of planned work, plus inter mittent visits in between. “We have 1400km of gravel roads, of which about 900km is in a condition we don’t think is acceptable,” says Fuzzard. In response, the council implemented its frst-ever systematic resheeting program, beginning with a $2 million investment in 2012. “This is just a start to what I hope will be a long and concerted program of bringing all those gravel roads back to an acceptable standard for our community,” Fuzzard says. The trick to improving the situation will be using the right material at the right depth, Fuzzard explains. Rather than the light gravelling of the previous grading program, the resheeting will be at a minimum depth of 100mm, using locally sourced ripped rock products, with just the right amount of larger rock to ensure adequate strength, balanced with enough clay to hold it together without becoming too slippery. “It’s a fne balance,” says Fuzzard. “Councils who’ve been doing this for years would say you've really got to know your product, to learn what it can do and how you should use it to get the most out of it. That for us is what this frst year has been about. Our staff haven’t been doing these deeper resheets in the past, so they’ve really had to learn a new skill.” There's still a long road ahead for the council -- literally more than 1000km, with the initial $2 million enabling the resheeting of about 90km of the 1400km unsealed road network. Another $2 million has been invested this fnancial year, but Fuzzard hopes that annual fgure won’t remain as high into the future. However, he adds, "we certainly have a backlog of work and I'd like to think council would be able to continue to invest at that sort of level for a few years yet while we catch up.” ••• A CLEAN SHEET A new, systematic resheeting program is helping Greater Bendigo’s unsealed road network cope with increasing loads. ROAD MAINTENANCE Our sta haven't been doing these deeper resheets in the past, so they've really had to learn a new skill.
Public Works Professional Sept - Oct 2013
Public Works Jan Feb 2014