Ararat Rural City Council is responsible for maintaining an extensive road network totalling 2350 kilometres of sealed and unsealed roads as identified in Councils Road Management Plan.
Of the 2350 kilometre road network around 700 kilometres is sealed, 1350 kilometres is gravel or unsealed road and 300 kilometres are natural surface tracks.
Under Council’s Road Management Plan, regular formalised inspections are carried out on all Council roads based on a hierarchal system with random road inspections also performed throughout the year.
All customer requests are followed up with a physical road inspection and feedback to the customer.
Following road inspections, all defects are collated within the Road Management Database where works are programmed subject to prioritisation.
As gravel is a naturally occurring material, with use, it is inevitable that unsealed roads will deteriorate and form corrugations, this is particularly relevant during extended periods of dry weather.
For maintenance grading activities to be effective it is essential for the appropriate moisture levels to be present in the road material. There are two reasons for this, firstly to allow the road to be graded without costly wear and tear on machinery and secondly to ensure the road material can be ‘roller’ compacted to form a solid and smooth drivable surface.
Therefore, when gravel roads become dry, moisture must be introduced though the use of water tankers and water from local sources. The use of water tankers to introduce moisture for maintenance grading activities is a good immediate solution but certainly not as effective as natural rainfall.
Water restrictions do not allow Councils to utilise potable water from standpipes for any form of road works and therefore water must be sourced from waterholes in natural creeks/rivers, from dams or from emergency water supply bores.
At all times consideration must be given to the requirement for stock water and most importantly ensuring enough water is held in reserve for fire fighting activities.
Therefore during extended periods of dry weather, roads will only be graded where the road defect has reached a critical level.
DID YOU KNOW
· A set of grader blades will generally last up to two days given good conditions, in dry conditions this is reduced by up to 75%.
· As a general rule it takes around 100,000 litres of water to effectively maintenance grade and reinstate 1 kilometre of gravel road.