Highways rehabilitation project
Regional Roads Victoria will look to tackle a challenge largely limited to the state’s northwest when it starts a rehabilitation and repair project along Wimmera highways this summer.
The organisation will carry out more than 15 kilometres of rehabilitation and repairs across the Wimmera over the coming months, targeting areas along the Wimmera, Western and Borung highways.
Regional Roads Victoria western region director Mal Kersting said the soil composition that made for fertile farmland in the Wimmera-mallee had a detrimental effect on road building.
“The issue with the soil type in the Wimmera is that it is so absorbent, that it swells and shrinks with the seasons and it never returns to quite the same shape,” he said.
“As many drivers can attest, this can cause issues with pavement surfaces on the roads and it is one of the major reasons that we see quite a lot of cracking and undulations occurring on roads around the Wimmera, especially when you factor in the number of freight vehicles that travel these roads.”
Mr Kersting said a band of moisture-absorbing reactive clay ran across the region, stretching between Dadswells Bridge and Nhill.
He said known colloquially as the ‘Wimmera Wave’, it caused headaches for engineers and maintenance contractors.
To combat the clay’s unique properties, Regional Roads Victoria undertakes regular proactive maintenance across the Wimmera, repairing and rehabilitating road surfaces to extend their lifespan.
“Due to this issue, roads in the Wimmera can tend to have a slightly shorter lifespan than those in other areas of the state, which is why we’re targeting major highways around that region as part of our upcoming maintenance program,” Mr Kersting said.
“The Wimmera’s primary producers play such an important role in western Victoria’s economy, which is why it’s vital that we provide them with the best possible connections to domestic and international trade markets.”
Mr Kersting said while the issue of the reactive clay soil type was not unique to the Wimmera, and also occurred across other low-lying floodplains, it was more prevalent across the state’s north-west.
New rumble strips have been installed at a dangerous intersection near Navarre, which has been the site of two major crashes in the past five years.
The crashes have resulted in four deaths and several serious injuries. Regional Roads Victoria has installed rumble strips on Stawell-avoca Road, near its intersection with Ararat-st Arnaud Road, 35 kilometres north-east of Stawell.
Mr Kersting said the new rumble strips would help drivers stay alert as they approached the intersection.
“Road safety is our top priority and we’ve delivered a better intersection for drivers travelling through Navarre,” he said.
“Combined with the extra signs we installed earlier this year, these rumble strips will enhance driver awareness and reduce the risk of crashes at this intersection.”