The cost of sealing the region’s roads was a topic of discussion at February’s Infrastructure Standing Committee meeting after staff reported an apparent cost drop of 58 per cent between 2019-20 and 2020-21
Roads Portfolio chair Cr Gavin Jones

February 4, 2021

South Burnett Regional Council’s Works Department has a busy month of roadworks scheduled for the region.

Roads portfolio chair Cr Gavin Jones said works crews completed gravel resheeting and a heavy formation grade on Greenwood Creek Road at Nanango during January.

They will be carrying out similar work on the Kingaroy-Burrandowan, Maidenwell-Upper Yarraman and Memerambi-Gordonbrook roads in February.

Crews will also be carrying out patrol grades on 61 roads in Brooklands, Charlestown, Cushnie, East Nanango, Goodger, Nanango, Tingoora, Wilkesdale and Wooroolin during February.

Similar patrol grades were completed on 22 roads at Barker Creek Flats, Boyneside, Dangore, Hodgleigh, Kunioon, Melrose and South Nanango last month.

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The cost of sealing the South Burnett’s roads dropped from $32,181 per kilometre to $20,272 per kilometre last year, but this did not necessarily indicate a massive productivity improvement.

Infrastructure Planning manager James Darcy – who presented the figures to Wednesday’s Infrastructure Standing Committee meeting – said several factors affected road sealing costs.

These could include different seal widths; more efficient preparation works; and efficient seal design and program management.

Mr Darcy said while Council officers were continuing to find better and more efficient ways to carry out road seals, the apparently sizable difference between the average 2019-20 and 2020-21 reseal costs was not quite as big as it seemed.

Resealing a larger proportion of single-lane roads or resealing more roads that required less preparation could cause average cost figures to swing sharply from one year to the next.

Recent cuts in the price of bitumen also played a part, Mr Darcy said.

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A burst of summer heat and rain has forced Council to ramp up its road slashing program.

Mayor Brett Otto told Wednesday’s meeting he had asked for three extra contract slashers to join Council’s four existing slashers.

He said slashing crews were hard-pressed to cover the region’s road network at present.

However, he hoped the extra contractors would mean most roadsides would be brought under control by the end of February.

The Mayor said Council normally slashed the 1153km sealed road network twice a year at a cost of $330,000.

Boom mowing cost an extra $120,000, which brought the total annual cost of keeping the road network’s edges tidy to $450,000.

Herbicide spraying – which is carried out in some years – could add a further $45,000.

Mayor Otto said the cost of the contract slashers called in to handle this summer’s overflow will be $45,000, but this is not expected to affect total annual outlays.

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