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‘Cracks in road report’

Wednesday, 2nd May, 2012

By Erica Visser

A report that blamed heavy rain for $300,000 worth of premature deterioration of Thomas Street outside the hospital failed to take into account that cracks started appearing before the downpours, according to one councillor.

The street was given a costly reconstruction in early 2009 but soon after started to develop cracks and potholes. 

The report, by an external engineering consultant, said that “recent unprecedented wet weather” and ground water infiltration had caused the rapid deterioration of the road which Council built with design consultants Tonkin Engineers.

At Council’s monthly meeting last week, councillors voted to obtain another more detailed report after a motion was put forward by councillors Tom Kennedy and Bob Algate.

Clr Kennedy said the road was showing signs of cracking prior to heavy rain and therefore Council might be able to be compensated for some of the cost of repairs.

“Most people realised it had started cracking in the first few months,” Clr Kennedy said.

“So there is potential there that someone other than City Council could be held responsible for repairs to the road.

“Plus Broken Hill is renowned for having considerable downpours within the one day and they really should have taken into account that that area is a water course.”

City Council’s Manager of Infrastructure, Paul DeLisio, said that “in hindsight” better measures could have been taken to avoid deterioration.

“The spoon drain could have been extended for the entire length of the reconstructed section of Thomas Street,” Mr DeLisio said.

“There is one section in front of the Thomas Street entry to the hospital where the spoon drain was not constructed, and across the Thomas Street/Chloride Street Intersection.

“The problems that have become apparent were not anticipated. If they had been, additional measures would have been incorporated.”

Mr DeLisio said that Council was seeking legal advice to determine whether it could be compensated.

However, he denied Clr Kennedy’s claim that the pavement was cracking before the heavy rain.

“It is a fact that there was heavy rain before the deterioration began,” Mr De Lisio said.

He said that repairs, which are due to go ahead next financial year, would involve extra measures to avoid the same problem reoccurring.  

“Council anticipates the installation of sub surface drainage along the reconstructed section of Thomas Street will minimise the risk of this happening in future.

“But if we again receive 1600mm of rain over a three-year period then there are no guarantees the road would be better protected,” he said.

Mr De Lisio said that it was obvious that the road deteriorated much more rapidly  than others.

“It should be noted that the same contractors, construction methods, materials and project management model were also used to reconstruct Mercury Street between Gypsum and Bismuth streets and to repair a culvert across Rakow Street near Nicholls Street,” he said.

“If the question relates to whether Thomas Street in the past has deteriorated at a faster rate than other streets then we would have to research that to provide an answer.

“It should be remembered that the main reason for the Thomas Street reconstruction was to provide substantial additional parking and improve the streetscape.”

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