Grading plant on unsealed road

We maintain approximately 3,300 kilometres of unsealed roads and spend around $6 million each year in grading and gravel resheeting works. A maintenance program, based on prioritisation, is developed each year ensuring we cover all unsealed roads within our vast Region. Most of our unsealed network of roads are graded at least once a year.

Our goal is to maintain our road network by continually reviewing and applying industry best practice.

How we create the maintenance program

To create our maintenance program we complete regular inspections of our road network to assess the condition; looking for issues such as potholes, corrugations, rutting, scouring and loss of surface material.

How we prioritise maintenance works for the roads

There are a few considerations that influence how we prioritise the order, and how often roads are graded, such as:

  • frequency and number of vehicles travelling on the road
  • type of vehicles using the road
  • the severity of the conditions
  • location/s of the damage/s
  • how the road services the greater network.

Maintenance program activities

We have four primary activities as part of the maintenance program:

  • maintenance grading (light, medium and heavy)
  • shoulder grading (light and heavy)
  • gravel road resheeting
  • shoulder resheeting.

Maintenance grading levels

  1. Light maintenance grading involves light trimming by the grader to allow existing material to restore reliability.
  2. Medium maintenance grading includes the removal of existing grass and vegetation, the use of water and compaction and the treatment of drains where applicable.
  3. Heavy maintenance grading involves the removal of existing grass and vegetation, scarifying/ripping the existing surface with grader tynes, the addition of imported gravel/material in isolated areas, the use of water and compaction and the treatment of drains where applicable.

Shoulder grading levels

  1. Light shoulder grading is used to remove vegetation and improve the shoulder surface condition.
  2. Heavy shoulder grading includes the removal of existing grass and vegetation, scarifying/ripping the existing surface with grader tynes, the addition of imported gravel/material in isolated areas, the use of water and compaction and the treatment of drains where applicable.

Program challenges

While we exercise our best efforts to complete the program each year, various challenges can affect the delivery of the program requiring us to adjust it accordingly. Some of these challenges include:

  • weather events causing damage to different areas
  • extended dry periods
  • feedback from customers with changing conditions
  • budget allocation
  • water supply (this is required for most road works).