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Road grading on track

Road grader on unsealed road.

Thursday 2 August 2018

With the dry weather conditions behind us Council’s gravel roads grading program is able to pick up momentum in maintaining the Shire’s 860 kilometres of unsealed roads.

“The team is enjoying being able to work more effectively with the change in weather conditions,” said Braden Thompson, Team Leader Unsealed Roads, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

“When we have dewy nights and a little bit of rain we can grade much more effectively and achieve a more focussed maintenance grading program,” said Mr Thompson.

“At this time of the year we don’t need a water cart, which makes the road grading much faster. The other good thing is that road improvements last far longer when there’s more moisture around,” he said.

“Thank you to everyone in our rural areas for your understanding earlier in the year when the dry weather was taking a toll on our roads.”

Mr Thompson said the team is trialling different materials to try to extend the life of unsealed roads across the shire.

“We’re comparing varied gravel mixes on some of our high traffic roads to understand which materials last longer and don’t need as much water to grade,” he said.

“We’re monitoring roads throughout the seasons to see the variation throughout the year and will use this information to plan future work. The team is also working on the road base to get it right, upgrading our drainage and spending a lot more time on the prep work to try and make the road upgrades last longer.”

With the better grading conditions and improving road materials Mr Thompson is confident in programmed maintenance grading getting back on track.

“We’re trying to focus on grading our roads in a strategic way where the graders flow from one area to the next, which is far more efficient and effective than reactive grading in an unplanned manner," said Mr Thomson.

“We have been grading roads in and around Maldon, Baringhup and Sutton Grange in July and are moving systematically towards the Taradale and then Elphinstone areas.

“About 80 percent of our roads will be graded once a year at least, and we are doing all we can to keep roads at a good standard,” he said.

Image: Crews are trialling new techniques to extend the life of graded roads around the shire.

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