“High capital cost” prevents waterproofing of gravel roads – The Echo

Manns Road to Rowlands Creek Road is the shortest road link between Byron and Tweed Shires and was closed due to this massive landslide during the March floods. Photo Will Matthews

Byron Shire Council staff hosed down the suggestion of a local quantity surveyor / cost engineer that the most cost-effective use of funds to repair the county’s troubled roads is to apply asphalt to gravel roads.

Ron Priestley said Daily Echonet says a savings of 50 to 66 percent could be achieved “on annual gravel road maintenance” in the future if only the most basic single-layer bitumen sealant were applied.

“Every year the County’s gravel roads erode during the rainy season and tons of rocks and sediment flow into the bush, into streams and destroy fish and aquatic habitat,” he said. -he declares.

“Council budgets only allow for the repair of these gravel roads and there is no money for the bituminous seal needed to stop the erosion; especially on the steepest parts.

“The Council should surely apply new increased funds to achieve the most beneficial long-term savings. It’s a smart economy.

“Expenditure is desperately needed to seal at least the steepest parts with bitumen and put an end to this major environmental damage. The council works department is well aware of the need for this, but cannot do anything without the necessary funds. ‘

In response, Director of Infrastructure Services Phil Holloway confirmed that “the Byron Shire Council budget does not currently include upgrading from gravel roads to asphalt roads.”

He said, “Our budget only allows for the repair and maintenance of gravel roads.

“In order for the Byron Shire Council to seal a gravel road, it would be necessary to purchase all the gravel for the subbase and the base of the road, as this is necessary to ensure the longevity of the road structure.

“To apply a single coat of bitumen sealer to a gravel road, it would be necessary to purchase gravel that would provide a quality road base. While this may lead to savings in the long run, this measure represents a high capital cost and the Byron Shire Council has instead committed to maintaining gravel roads and to maintaining and renewing paved roads.

“All parts of Australia have gravel roads. There is an extensive network of gravel roads in northern NSW and, like Byron Shire Council, other councils in the area are not able to seal all gravel roads.

“Byron Shire Council regularly inspects its gravel road network, and maintenance is scheduled based on traffic volume, weather, etc.”

Road rehabilitation projects underway

Mr. Holloway highlighted the road rehabilitation projects underway in the County.

He said: “Byron Council is putting the finishing touches on The Terrace project at Brunswick Heads this week, which saw the road rebuilt and a new asphalt surface laid. This $ 380,000 project was funded by money raised through the variation of the special rate. ‘

“Next week the council will turn its attention to Avenue des Pins in Mullumbimby where we will begin to rebuild this road. This project was also financed by the special tariff variation.

“Roads are a priority for Byron Shire Council and, with increased funding from varying special rates, we allocated $ 37 million in 2017/18 for capital works projects.

“We have also increased our road improvement spending by $ 13 million, from $ 4 million in 2012 to $ 17 million in 2017, in recognition of the work that needs to be done and our commitment to improving the road network. . “


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