The death of hotmix

Gungahlin Al 6 February 2009 40

The uneven but essentially smooth streets on north side of Canberra are rapidly disappearing under harsh layers of chip seal.

Streets all over Braddon are getting their 5 o’clock shadows this week. Swathes of Ainslie Hackett and Watson are already experiencing the wonders of vehicle tyre noise they never had before.

Whole neighbourhoods of kids can no longer ride a skateboard in their quiet culs de sac, or ride their bikes at risk of skin receiving the cheesegrater treatment.

The aforesaid uneveness is not being fixed, as resealing with a new layer of hotmix would do. Loose gravel ends up everywhere. Between piles of gravel on the road like riding on marbles and stones thrown up at you, riding a motorbike becomes a nightmare.

But as Andrew Barr defended it to me the other night, hoons don’t do burnouts on it. Whoopy do.

And it doesn’t last. In the hot weather, traffic works the stones out leaving “fatty” patches of just sticky bitumen skin behind that become smooth and slippery when wet.

Is the ACT the only local jurisdiction foisting such crappy street surfaces on its residents?

Are you happy to have your streets turned into pseudo gravel roads? What MLAs out there are prepared to take up the cudgell against the ALP and Roads ACT and seek a halt to this second-world penny pinching solution?

Spend 20 seconds and rip off a quick email to your MLA (or a bunch of ’em) – surname@parliament.act.gov.au.


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40 Responses to The death of hotmix
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SadMushroom SadMushroom 3:28 pm 11 Feb 09

There is a great difference in cost.
It takes a a couple of different crews, about 4 trucks plus drivers, 5-6 different peices of machinery and almost a whole day to lay hotmix.
Yet it only takes 2 trucks, about 2 peices of machinery and a handful of guys a couple of hours to reseal.

Just the cost in manpower and machinery is a major factor, let alone the materials.

Alot of the rougher surfaces being laid are in areas where many small bingles due to sliding in wet/winter have been recorded. The surface isn’t as slippery as hotmix and will last longer.

bd84 bd84 10:31 pm 07 Feb 09

AG Canberra said :

And along these same lines – when oh when will the Parkway be re-done? The coarse chip is buggered and the “tram lines” are just getting deeper and bumpier….

When it eventually does rain I am sure a Smart car will end up drowning in one of those holes!

The Parkway is finally going to be resurfaced! I saw the road closure notice in the CT today, from memory it will be done on the weekend of the 15th of Feb, it hasn’t appeared on the TAMS website yet, and can’t be arsed going outside to retrieve the paper to confirm the dates.

Anyway yes the chip seal is the cheap option, to make the smooth roads they need to take some layers off the existing surface which cost them much much more. They also use it in some places for the “extra grip”, or if they want to cut costs on the GDE extention they just build the road with it to begin with.

JC JC 10:10 pm 07 Feb 09

WoodyN24 said :

They have missed so many parts of the road where cars were parked during the day and it hasn’t made driving on the road any better at all …

It is not meant to make it better, just help make it water proof once again so pot holes don’t occour.

SheepGroper SheepGroper 9:05 pm 07 Feb 09

They sprayed the stuff on with cars parked on the road? Wonder what the cars looked like afterwards. When my street got done we were told which days we weren’t supposed to be using the road.

WoodyN24 WoodyN24 7:42 pm 07 Feb 09

They have missed so many parts of the road where cars were parked during the day and it hasn’t made driving on the road any better at all …

youami youami 4:18 pm 07 Feb 09

swamiOFswank said :

Worst road surface in Canberra: Wentworth Ave Kingston
Worst chip-seal carpark: Kippax shopping centre (try pushing a full trolley over it)

Basically it’s a cheap-arsed joke that covers a multitude of sins…for a while.

Wentworth Av is fine! It is one of the oldest roads in Canberra and it is all hotmix so you can’t really comment on that wrt chip-seal. The cracks across the road are from the concrete slab joins underneath the road and like similar roads in Sydney that was what the surface used to be.

btw, has anyone postulated that the damage to the new surfaces could be related to the heat of last few weeks rather than the cheap-ass chip-seal? btw, I am indifferent to chip-seal although accept that the road surface must match the traffic volume and also the type of the vehicles etc (ie. trucks, through traffic, etc.) It may be that for some roads, hotmix needs to be invested over alternatives.

Worst chip-seal I have seen is Giles St Kingston near the shops where almost the whole surface is removed of gravel and the road markings are all but obscured by tar skin.

Incidentally, side streets don’t need road markings (re #3) especially if the road isn’t designed for an uninterupted division of traffic –most side streets in Canberra are not wide enough for two cars to pass when cars are parked along the curb. I have never seen so many back streets with centre lines than I see in Canberra! Maybe the cost of paint could be used elsewhere. I am pretty sure most drivers know to keep to the left : )

Which leads me to another whinge…

I am a Canberran-ish (3 years) and drivers here have no idea about exercising discretion and judgement when it comes to making a decision on the road if it is not made for them (ie. traffic lights or signs of some sorts). Generalised statement but representative of the majority…

swamiOFswank swamiOFswank 9:34 am 07 Feb 09

Worst road surface in Canberra: Wentworth Ave Kingston
Worst chip-seal carpark: Kippax shopping centre (try pushing a full trolley over it)

Basically it’s a cheap-arsed joke that covers a multitude of sins…for a while.

T1G3R T1G3R 2:50 am 07 Feb 09

What does it matter? People in Canberra barely use the roads and can’t drive to save their lives. Let them go cheap, you guys won’t use it anyway haha.

JC JC 11:41 pm 06 Feb 09

Deckard said :

old canberran said :

Then along came hotmix. Great stuff but expensive.

But is it more expensive in the long run? I guess Governments all over the world are in for the quick cheap fix rather than the longer term solution that costs a lot more money in the short term. eg. Gungahlin Drive here in Canberra and the M5 tunnel in Sydney.

Deckard, we are talking about road maintenance not new road construction.

With new road construction it is clearly better to go for a higher quality road technique in the beggining, and Gungahlin Drive extension is a fine example of what not to do. That is a road uses a construction technique named spray pave which may look similar to a resealed road but is completely different under the surface.

But for long term maintenance of roads it is a different story. It clearly cannot be cost effective to rip up a reasonable road surface and resheet it, when you get roughly the same benifit (with some side effects of course) from resealing. The roads in the ACT do not get the same punishment that main roads in Sydney for example get so all in all there is no major problem with the basic structure so why rip it up and resheet?

Deckard Deckard 10:59 pm 06 Feb 09

old canberran said :

Then along came hotmix. Great stuff but expensive.

But is it more expensive in the long run? I guess Governments all over the world are in for the quick cheap fix rather than the longer term solution that costs a lot more money in the short term. eg. Gungahlin Drive here in Canberra and the M5 tunnel in Sydney.

old canberran old canberran 10:39 pm 06 Feb 09

Thanks JC. That used to be the way all roads in Canberra were sealed and resealed. Then along came hotmix. Great stuff but expensive.

Granny Granny 9:26 pm 06 Feb 09

What a load of rubbish!

I hang around Gungahlin Al heaps, and you’d think I’d have noticed all this “despising with a passion” that he goes around doing. Frankly his despising with a passion could really use work ….

JC JC 9:11 pm 06 Feb 09

old canberran said :

Can I ask what “chip seal” is. Back in the 60’s when I lived in the burbs they used to resurface the roads by spraying hot tar on the road and then trucks would spread gravel on the tar. This would then be rolled with a roller. For the next few weeks the gravel would find its way into the gutter and all over the nature strip and the racket from the gravel getting picked up by car tyres and hitting the metal under the mud guards would announce that a car was going by.
Is this anything like “chip seal”?
Oardon my ignorance but I live in NSW now and our roads never/rarely get to be resurfaced.

Yeah that is exactly what it is. Al has a weed on about it for some reason and seems to think it is some new penny pinching method being used by Mr Stanhope whom he despises with a passion. Yet this is something that has been done for a very long time and is the most sensible and cost effective manner to solve the basic problem. My memory only goes back as far as the late 70’s, clearly yours is even longer than that.

old canberran old canberran 9:03 pm 06 Feb 09

Can I ask what “chip seal” is. Back in the 60’s when I lived in the burbs they used to resurface the roads by spraying hot tar on the road and then trucks would spread gravel on the tar. This would then be rolled with a roller. For the next few weeks the gravel would find its way into the gutter and all over the nature strip and the racket from the gravel getting picked up by car tyres and hitting the metal under the mud guards would announce that a car was going by.
Is this anything like “chip seal”?
Oardon my ignorance but I live in NSW now and our roads never/rarely get to be resurfaced.

JC JC 6:52 pm 06 Feb 09

Gungahlin Al said :

I’m no expert on road sealing technology, but as far as I can recall, suburban roads have been resealed with chip seal since the ’80s.

If that were the case then they wouldn’t be covering up hotmix then would they? They’d be covering up old chipseal/spraypave/call it what you like.

It goes in cycles Al and most of those suburbs you mentioned have been re-sealed before. Suburban roads generally got a much finer grade of rock, indeed go to my mums place in Macgregor which was sealed about 5 years ago and I bet at first glance you think it is hotmix.

JC JC 6:50 pm 06 Feb 09

New Yeah said :

I’m no expert on road sealing technology, but as far as I can recall, suburban roads have been resealed with chip seal since the ’80s.

Is this actually a new issue or one that has just caught your attention? Indeed, is there a quantitative difference in the amount or type of road being chip sealed now?

Yeah think he has his knickers in a knot over the issue, because of course you are right, it has been going on for as long as I can remember.

BTW Al Canberra isn’t the only place where it is done. Indeed even in major cities like Sydney it is done to SUBURBAN roads, but as I said in another thread their main roads get re-sheeted mainly due to the fact that they have a heavier traffic load and need the new sheet to fix problems. Our roads don’t generally get that type of traffic and hence only need to be resealed.

Also as I said before are you willing to pay more in local tax, rego etc to pay for a re-sheet when it isn’t needed?

Ryan Ryan 4:20 pm 06 Feb 09

they did scrape up the road at the roundabout of eloura and mort earlier this week, and laid a very nice new smooth surface..

niftydog niftydog 3:26 pm 06 Feb 09

caf said :

Friction… Rolling resistance…

Ah, of course, touché. Although, lack of friction would probably do more to stop speeding than the speed cameras!

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 2:23 pm 06 Feb 09

So did they fix up Torrens St or did they just tar and feather over the ruts?
Just tarred and feathered nifty. And all the ones around it too. Glad I don’t live there…

caf caf 2:10 pm 06 Feb 09

Friction is actually what you want in a road surface – the tires aren’t supposed to slip against it (that is, the bit of the tire that is in contact with the road is momentarily stationary). Rolling resistance, on the other hand, is what slows you down and wears your tires. Does anyone know whether rougher or smoother surfaces produce more rolling resistance?

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