Truck boss speaks out on maintenance
There is little doubt in my mind the cause of the incident was the poorly maintained surface of a small section of the road . . . no rectification was made to make the surface safe. John Mitchell
A trucking company boss has accused Main Roads of exposing road users to “catastrophic risks” after one of his driver’s trucks slid out of control to the wrong side of the road.
The Mitchell’s Transport driver was left shaken last week when his livestock prime mover — with two trailers attached — aquaplaned across Albany Highway near Arthur River at almost 100km/h into trees on the opposite side.
He said the truck was uncontrollable on a surface similar to “black ice”, and it was lucky no cars were coming the other way.
Williams police had met Main Roads staff close to where the incident occurred after a similar complaint about the section of Albany Highway last month.
The department did remedial works using high-pressure water spray to remove excess bitumen on the shiny road surface.
Mitchell’s Transport owner John Mitchell said the work done was not enough and he decided to make the incident public over concerns WA’s roads were ticking time bombs.
Last year, a damning report by the Office of the Auditor-General found Main Roads’ approach to maintaining the State road network was reactive, with repairs being done only when there was a critical need, and leaving a backlog of overdue maintenance.
Mr Mitchell said last week’s incident had potentially fatal consequences for the driver and other people on the road.
“There is little doubt in my mind the cause of the incident was the poorly maintained sur- face of a small section of the road,” he said.
“The summer heat melted the surface and allowed the blue metal, which provides traction, to be pushed down, leaving the road shiny and slippery. No rectification was made to make the surface safe.”
Main Roads said it would inspect the site of the incident, saying the department took safety concerns seriously. The department said a maintenance crew inspected Albany Highway each week to arrange repair works where necessary.
“Main Roads will be undertaking its next planned resurfacing works along Albany Highway in 2018-19 as part of our annual works plan,” a spokesman said.
Mitchell's Livestock Transport chief executive John Mitchell.
Williams police recently highlighted a section of the Albany Highway near Bannister as in need of repairs.