High­ways re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion project

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

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.

Rum­ble strips

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.”

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