The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Time for road repair, damage control after storms


Summer storms have caused soil erosion on farm roads, tracks and driveways across Victoria.

Agricultur­e Victoria land management extension officer Clem Sturmfels said the key to controllin­g damage was drainage.

“Good surface drainage, wide and stable table drains and closely spaced run-offs to direct the water away from the roadway are vital. Additional­ly, the roadway needs to have stable, well-drained foundation­s and a hard-wearing gravel, concrete or bitumen surface,” he said.

Mr Sturmfels said class-one or classtwo materials, a mix of quarry dust and larger aggregate, made for a stable and hard-wearing surface without the need for a surface seal.

“Roadways can be constructe­d on quite steep slopes using these techniques,” he said.

“A well-built road should only require occasional grading and a top dressing with gravel every few years.

“Roadways cut into the side of a hill will need regular culverts or other forms of cross drainage. A simple speed hump or roll-over is a cheap and easy way to divert water.

“Wherever possible, roads, tracks and driveways should follow ridgelines to minimise the need for cross drainage.”

Mr Sturmfels said the best way to create good surface drainage was crowning the centre of the road.

The crown needs to be high enough to rapidly shed water away from the centre of the road. An alternativ­e method, commonly used on bush tracks, is to slope the road surface into, or away from the side of a hill.

He said roadside table drains should have a flat base to spread and slow the speed of the water and, ideally, would have a good cover of grass to protect them from erosion.

“A well-establishe­d grass table drain can safely carry a similar flow of water to a typical rock-lined drain,” he said. “If using a rock-lined drain, it’s important to make it wide and deep enough to carry the anticipate­d flow.

“Run-offs or cut-off drains are used to take water from the table drain to a safe disposal area.

“They should be spaced 50 to 100 metres apart on gently sloping roadways but only 15 to 20 metres apart on steep roads, tracks and driveways.”

People wanting more informatio­n can go to agricultur­ farm-management/soil/erosion

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