When the Centre for Pavement Engineering Education (CPEE) recently staged a training course in Tamworth, much of the information presented was “music to the ears” of the delegates wishing to learn how to better manage their road network.

With Australia having over 800,000km of roads, it was a surprise for the delegates to learn that two thirds of them are unsealed, and that it takes quite a different engineering mindset to maintain this network compared to a sealed road network.

For a sealed pavement, it is the impact of commercial vehicles that eats into the pavement life, and the impact of cars and light vehicles can largely be ignored.

Unsealed roads fail through surface wear, most significantly when the ‘sheeting layer’ slowly disappears in a cloud of dust — and a chorus of complaints. In these situations, the damaging effect of cars is just as important as trucks.

Because of this, unsealed roads can be a large consumer of natural materials. How sustainable is this and what engineering controls can be used to manage this?

These and many other unsealed road quirks and issues were explained and discussed at a two-day training course held by CPEE in Tamworth recently, which was attended by local government staff from Tamworth and several adjoining councils.  

Many of the delegates were surprised at the number of tools and options available to help manage their networks. Some of them said they wished that their councillors could have attended too!

Tamworth is well known as Australia’s home of country music, but what if it were to become the home of country roads as well?

For more information, please visit www.pavementeducation.edu.au

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