When will the madness of the ACT’s road surfacing programme end. Everyone I talk to is unhappy with the spray seal / chip seal used yet the programme rolls on, this time in Mawson and Phillip. For those of you that live in Mawson, they seem to have done a particularily poor job as there are loose stones all over the road that and there are already tyre grooves where the stones have moved away completely.
For those that are unfamiliar with the technology chipseal is a road surface used by other jurisdictions in Australia and around the world for rural/ low volume roads due to its low cost (1/6 the cost of asphalt) which is completely understandable. In Canberra, however, Chipseal is now used the vast majority of inner-city nd high volume roads such as Adelaide Ave, Wentworth Ave and Gunghalin Drive. Chipseal has a number of the drawbacks, however, including:
- Lasting less than half as long as asphalt;
- Causing stone chips to cars;
- Creating significantly more tyre noise as cited by the NSW RTA as four decibels higher than asphalt (RTA Environmental Noise Management Manual);
- Decreacing fuel economy (a NZ study found that vs asphalt, the car used in the study used 1 ltr more per 100km)
- Increasing tyre vibration resulting in a rough ride and loud tyre roar inside the car; and
- Increasing tyre wear due to increased road surface friction caused by the abrasive stones used.
Why is it that we in the ACT have to put up with 90% of our roads finished with rough chip seal rather than smooth concrete or asphalt (Tony Gill, Legislative Assembly Hansard, 22 June 2012) while Sydney enjoys 83.6% of their roads sealed with asphalt (statistics below supplied by the NSW roads and maritime service).
It seems that the government is comfortable with subjecting us to all these drawbacks of widespread chip seal, using large aggeragate all to save money in the short term and hiding the more qualitative hidden costs under the rug. I would urge any of you who are sick of the stone chips in your car and the roar of your tyres as you drive along to write to your member or the chief minister. I believe Canberra should strive to have the bet facilities and infrastructure in the country and not settle for second best.