Nearly a million square metres of ACT roads to be repaired with new recycled material this summer

James Coleman 9 November 2021 45

A pothole duo on Napier Close in Deakin. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Several of the ACT’s arterial roads are set for a revamp over summer with almost a million square metres of fresh tarmac to be laid – but it won’t be your ordinary tarmac.

The seventh wettest winter on record has spelt havoc for roads. Rainwater seeps underneath the surface leaving potholes, cracks, dips, lumps, and disgruntled motorists in its wake.

Over the warmer months, these issues will be picked up by cameras mounted to ACT Government vehicles and then smothered with a new material made from recycled plastic, glass and printer cartridges.

Major roads planned for renewal include the Monaro Highway, Tuggeranong Parkway, Long Gully Road, Ginninderra Drive, College Street, Mirrabei Drive, Mawson Drive and Cooyong Street in the city.

All up, 925,000 square metres of road will be fixed at a cost of $19.5 million.

READ ALSO: Government pays out $37,000 in pothole claims but Taylah’s fight goes on

Road resurfacing treatments include road resealing, asphalt resurfacing and microsurfacing, which helps to waterproof the road and stop the formation of potholes, improve the skid resistance of the road surface, and fill cracks in the pavement.

“These works follow our record program of road repairs which has fixed more than 6000 potholes and delivered more than 11,000 square metres of hot asphalt repairs in the last financial year,” said Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel.

In general, the service life of a highly trafficked road is more than 10 years while residential streets often deliver 25 to 30 years of service. Due to the wet weather, however, almost four times as many repairs were undertaken this year compared with previous years, and has been supported with a rise in funding.

Aerial view of Tuggeranong Parkway passing near National Arboretum in Canberra. Photo: File.

The new program works will be undertaken using local road contractors and asphalt manufacturers. Chiefly, the new type of tarmac is produced by Downer in Hume.

Called ‘Reconophalt’, it is the first road surfacing material in Australia to contain recycled content derived from waste streams like used printer cartridges, soft plastics and glass.

As part of the resurfacing program, the ACT Government is also undertaking a trial of innovative new defect-detection technology with the start-up Frontline Data Systems.

Cameras attached to vehicles will scan and automatically photograph road surfaces, with the artificial intelligence software identifying and classifying areas in need of repair.

Frontline Data Systems Director of Operations, Jonathon Stapels said the system will detect, classify, assess and geo-locate potholes, cracks and other hazardous defects by analysing footage captured from cars equipped with optical devices driving at normal speeds across some of Canberra’s roads.

Minister Steel hopes the AI technology can improve both the efficiency and accuracy of the ACT’s road maintenance program.

READ ALSO: Tyre carnage as unseasonal wet rains ruin on capital’s roads

The ACT Government is also undertaking a tender process for the next contractors to collect data on the condition of roads in Canberra which will help determine preventative measures and future road resurfacing priorities.

Road resurfacing will first be undertaken in rural areas on Boboyan Road and Paddys River Road, with the first suburban areas following in Tuggeranong later in November and early December 2021.

Signage will be erected well in advance of road resurfacing and affected residents and businesses will also be advised by letterbox drop at least two days before the start of resealing works on their street.

More information on the road resurfacing program, including daily updates on the streets and suburbs where work is taking place, can be found at

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45 Responses to Nearly a million square metres of ACT roads to be repaired with new recycled material this summer
Derek Skinner Derek Skinner 8:27 am 11 Nov 21

Hope that sulwood drive is getting done

Trevor Moffat Trevor Moffat 7:35 pm 10 Nov 21

yea they like to take shortcuts, barr smith ave in bonython was a good road until someone decided it need to be wreaked by putting tar patches all down the road which now makes you feel like your 4wding, bumpy as hell.

Anna Kostyuk Anna Kostyuk 5:20 pm 10 Nov 21

The ACT is not the first to create a road surface from waste like soft plastics.

    Jason Oneill Jason Oneill 9:55 pm 10 Nov 21

    Anna Kostyuk im going to follow the conditions of the surface with interest as tassie doesn’t get the heat temps we do, and im curious to see how it will hold under truck weights and high temps

    Anna Kostyuk Anna Kostyuk 7:02 am 11 Nov 21

    Jason Oneill absolutely, I'm by no means an expert on whether this is or isn't a good road surface - just the riotACT article asserted the ACT was the first to make such a road product, but I remember hearing on the news a while back that Tassie had come up with a road surface made out of plastics and such.

Peter Bucke Peter Bucke 4:31 pm 10 Nov 21

And yet ….. the bump an hole opposite the BP servo , Melrose Drive Phillip won’t get fixed. It’s just part of our local history now. In Woden we knock down buildings and replace with new. Thankfully not all gets replaced and renewed as with this pothole.

    David Nagle David Nagle 6:01 pm 10 Nov 21

    Peter Bucke that pothole has historic and cultural significance ! It needs to be preserved in the condition its in. Could u come up with a heritage plan for it maybe ?🤣🤣🤣

    Peter Bucke Peter Bucke 7:13 pm 10 Nov 21

    David Nagle yes i think it should be Heritage listed.

    David Nagle David Nagle 7:36 pm 10 Nov 21

    Peter Bucke you should take a drive along Athlon drive. Theres some potholes that day a few days to get out of.

    The govt spent all the money on light rail. .they dont give a shit about resealing and resurf acing the roads.

    Peterson James Peterson James 6:11 am 11 Nov 21

    David Nagle I agree there, isnt there anyone in the transport department that can be held accountable when a motorbike rider dies after flipping over from a massive half a metre by half metre pothole. I dont think so they are hiding like the sociopaths they are

Kirrily McArthur Kirrily McArthur 4:21 pm 10 Nov 21

Tanya McArthur might melt even more now

Tora Dance Tora Dance 1:25 pm 10 Nov 21

I wonder what the impacts will be on micro plastics from this material?

Charles Godworth Charles Godworth 11:11 am 10 Nov 21

The greens-labor government track record for road maintenance is very poor. Safe and well maintained roads are a basic function of government for which we have been let down

Paul Mathews Paul Mathews 10:36 am 10 Nov 21

can we 3D print as we drive ?

Michael L Carrigg Michael L Carrigg 9:45 am 10 Nov 21

I'd like to see a cost breakdown at how that Aud$19.5M was arrived at.

Lindy Dunster Lindy Dunster 6:34 am 10 Nov 21

Stop complaining about your roads They are brilliant compared to some of ours.

Kerri Hallas Kerri Hallas 9:23 pm 09 Nov 21

But does it hold?

Jack Moore Jack Moore 7:31 pm 09 Nov 21

Amelia Booth great news for yolf

John Bunker John Bunker 6:39 pm 09 Nov 21

Yep then they will drop the speed limit and book everyone to pay for it

Kylie Russell Kylie Russell 6:22 pm 09 Nov 21

Farout you whinge if they don't fix them and whinge when they do

John Collinson John Collinson 5:31 pm 09 Nov 21

Great more micro plastics in the environment. 🤦

Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 5:16 pm 09 Nov 21

well aren't we supposed to be reducing micro plastics in our water ways?

Roxana Robert Smith Roxana Robert Smith 4:56 pm 09 Nov 21

Who pays for the repairs on vehicles that get damaged by this poorly managed repairs.

    Craig Fitzgerald Craig Fitzgerald 6:04 pm 09 Nov 21

    Government would be protected and also company doing the project

ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 4:52 pm 09 Nov 21

Resealing by trying to stick stones to the roadway with a thin layer of bitumen does not work. Near where I live it lasts as little as six months. The surface is also very noisy and accelerated tyre wear. Repairs must be done properly.

    purplevh purplevh 9:24 pm 10 Nov 21

    Chip sealing is literally a band aid & does little more than cost shift onto the hapless motorist.

Stephanie Ann Brown Stephanie Ann Brown 4:18 pm 09 Nov 21

Lots of potholes in NSW also

    Shawn Mulgrue Shawn Mulgrue 4:38 pm 09 Nov 21

    Stephanie Ann Brown go and talk to Opus Dei Dom about that! It’s not Canberra’s problem

    David Malcolm David Malcolm 5:18 pm 09 Nov 21

    Stephanie Ann Brown which has absolutely nothing to do with what the ACT government does.

Charlie Karmenu Flask Charlie Karmenu Flask 4:16 pm 09 Nov 21

Will it last longer than 2 days?

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