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Former council worker blasts roadwork crew

Thursday, 10th January, 2019

The bitumen on the overpass: one side was completed with hot mix and the other with a scatter spray. PICTURE: Emily McInerney The bitumen on the overpass: one side was completed with hot mix and the other with a scatter spray. PICTURE: Emily McInerney

By Emily McInerney

A former City Council road supervisor says he was shocked by poor road works along the pipeline route in Broken Hill, but the contractors say they are coming back to fix it.

Paul Jeffery worked as a Senior Road Supervisor for close to 20 years and specialised in bitumen design.

He said work along South Road, Gypsum and Gaffney streets was not acceptable.

“The bitumised road on the South Road is bleeding, it’s not safe pavement,” he said.

“The bitumen will cause a lot of trouble. They’ve used hot mix on one side but not the other.”

Mr Jeffery said he was concerned about where the road work crews had gone, as work hasn’t been conducted for some time.

“They might turn around and fix it, but what if they don’t. It should have been done properly the first time.

“In Gypsum Street, the gravel is all busted out in the intersection.

“The only remedy is to fix it with hot mix pavement.

“There has been too much binder in the design application rate. It is way out, it is too heavy.

“It is tailing and dragging right up the overpass.

“It is causing more damage to the road and it will all need to be fixed further along.

“It’s not acceptable. The overpass is a state highway.”

Mr Jeffery said if there is too much binder on a resurfaced road, any heat will reignite it.

“It exposes the raw bitumen. It is contaminating the rest of the road.

“It sticks to cars and you walk it into your homes. It can irritate your pets.

“Because it’s been left, it will cost a lot more to fix it - the cost will blow right out.”

Mr Jeffery said he has a lot of experience in the game and he doesn’t believe proper procedure was undertaken.

“I think it’s poor that that much money is being spent on it and it hasn’t been done right.

“It is incompetent.”

However W2BH Project Community Engagement Manager Glenn Pfluger said the recent heat has created a number of setbacks.

He said kerb-to-kerb asphalting and spray sealing on roads and streets along the alignment of the Wentworth to Broken Hill Pipeline are continuing. 

“The recent heat wave had impacted on reinstatement, due to the difficulties of working with tar and asphalt in extreme heat,” Mr Pfluger said.

“It was absolutely critical this drought-proofing water pipeline was in place by Christmas in order to be ready for water delivery by April.

“However, this has meant our crews have had to reinstate roads during one of the region’s most searing summers, which has been quite a challenge.”

Mr Pfluger said some sections of road had experienced ‘bleeding’ during high temperatures and the W2BH team was working closely with road contractor Fulton Hogan and the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to resolve the issue.

“Our crews have been gradually adding more and more stone to South Road and Crystal Street, and other nearby street areas, to build up the seal and ensure the tar application takes properly, and this will continue over the next few weeks,” Mr Pfluger said.

Work to return all road surfaces to their original composition, or better, began on November 12 and involved a combination of kerb-to-kerb tar spray sealing and asphalt reinstatement. 

Mr Pfluger said line marking of roads and streets was due to commence next week.

“While we have tried to minimise our impacts during pipeline construction and road reinstatement works, we know our presence has had an impact on residents and motorists, and we appreciate and thank everyone for their patience while we delivered this important water supply initiative for Broken Hill.”

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