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What’s so interesting about gravel roads?

Australia has about 800,000 km of roads. Did you know that two thirds of them are unsealed? Did you know it takes quite a different engineering mindset to maintain this network compared to a sealed road network?

In a sealed pavement it is the effect of commercial vehicles eats into the pavement life, while the impact of cars and light vehicles can be ignored.

Unsealed roads fail through surface wear, most significantly when the ‘sheeting layer’ slowly disappears in a cloud of dust. 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? 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, and attended by local government staff from 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. What if were to become the home of country roads, as well?

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