Road blast

Truck boss speaks out on main­te­nance

Narrogin Observer - - Front Page - Reuben Hale

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.

Pic­ture: Danella Be­vis

Mitchell's Live­stock Trans­port chief ex­ec­u­tive John Mitchell.

Pic­ture: Laura Gru­bisa

Wil­liams po­lice re­cently high­lighted a sec­tion of the Al­bany High­way near Ban­nis­ter as in need of re­pairs.

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