Multiple causes behind road woes, says leading engineer

Multiple causes behind road woes, says leading engineer


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ROAD CONSTRUCTION: The Government and Opposition have announced big spending plans, for Victoria's roads.

ROAD CONSTRUCTION: The Government and Opposition have announced big spending plans, for Victoria's roads.

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Leading Victorian traffic and transport engineer Jim Higgs said many of Victoria’s roads would have been built more than 50 years ago.

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Leading Victorian traffic and transport engineer Jim Higgs said many of Victoria’s roads would have been built more than 50 years ago.

Mr Higgs, of TTM Consulting, said there were several contributing factors to their poor state.

“When you read your traffic engineering manuals, most of them have a specified design life and it’s usually 20-25 years,” he said.

“The other thing that has happened is the amount of traffic going over the roads. It’s truck traffic that does the damage, car traffic is almost insignificant in terms of pavement damage.”

He said it appeared the type of transport now using the roads was not envisaged when they were first designed or built.

Poor drainage was another issue that had an adverse effect on road pavements.

Mr Higgs said where to spend much-needed funding also raised questions.

“Is it a seat of the pants judgement or the most marginal electorate, or what?”

Rural Councils Victoria chairman Rob Gersch, Hindmarsh Shire, said road quality was one of the most common complaints rural councillors received.

“One of the problems we have is that funding has been short and only recently have they started to raise it again,” he said.

He said more direct Federal government Roads to Recovery money was required. Under the program, direct funding to local councils was distributed according to a formula set by the Grants Commission.

“That comes straight to local government, and it’s been a real winner,” Cr Gersch said.

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