Maintaining rural roads

Meander Valley Council in Tasmania is proving rural councils can make significant roadwork savings and efficiencies.

As with most rural areas, unsealed roads make up a significant part of the road network in Meander Valley.

Maintaining these roads requires the implementation of a gravel re-sheeting and grading program.

Despite $300k per annum allocated to the re-sheeting budget in addition to a maintenance cost of $150k per annum for grading and patching, Council’s works crews were unable to keep pace with the demand for road re-surfacing and maintenance.

Seeking a solution, engineering staff suggested the use of higher quality gravel.

While this would initially incur additional cost, the new material would not require re-sheeting and grading as often and would provide users with a smoother surface that reduced dust.

The suggestion was supported by Councillors who voted to increase the gravel re-sheeting budget by $100k per annum for four years.

In addition to the allocation of additional funding, Council’s works crews also developed an improved road profile that was designed to shed water off the road surface.

This reduced the instance of potholes and customer service requests to rectify them.

Because of this investment, the gravel re-sheeting budget has been reduced to $200k per annum.

Council now has an unsealed road network that will save around $150k each and every year following an initial investment of $100k per annum over four years.

In addition, because the new material requires less maintenance, Council now has the option of increasing the length of time between re-sheeting.

An increase of one year between re-sheets would save approximately $40k in depreciation costs.

In order to achieve better services and better financial returns, success in asset management is dependent on a whole of organisation approach.

Councillors provide support for the initiatives that Council Officer’s identify and works crews need to be able to deliver the projects within the scope of their roles on the ground.