The roads identified for upgrade include:
• Macleay Island road resurfacing: Western Road, South Sea Terrace, Thomas, Oomool, Lonicera, Kate, Jan and Baracoota streets.
• Russell Island road resurfacing: Bay Drive, Channel, Guthrie and Patterson streets.
• Lamb Island road resurfacing: Lucas Drive.
There will also be road works undertaken at Minjerriba Rd, Russell Island with an Intersection improvement at the Centre Road intersection including road widening and concrete islands.
In addition to these works, a further $1 million has been allocated to additional new road sealing works. However, the location of that work will be determined post the resealing works.
Division 5 Councillor Mark Edwards said that a number of sealed island roads had reached an age where resealing will ensure their integrity and safety for motorists.
“Significant deterioration can occur in roads underneath the sealed surface. Whilst a road may look in good condition, if a resealing program is not undertaken, failures can happen quickly and be very expensive to resolve.”
Cr Edwards had requested Council develop a new priority road ranking system that will see future roads sealed on the basis of several criteria that includes weighted scores on amenity, maintenance, road hierarchy, access, servicing and the environment.
The Friendly Bay Islander asked Cr Edwards if there was any progress on his long supported advocacy for a two spray seal of island roads. This is a low cost bitumen spray of unsealed roads.
“There has been some progress and support from both the Mayor and the CEO to consider further investigation of this proposal, however it is important for people to understand that this is not a a method of building a sealed road in the true sense. It should be considered as a dust suppression action to give relief to local residents.” Cr Edwards said.
The process involves applying a road sealer, followed by two coats of bitumen. It is fast and low cost but it does not have the life span of a traditional sealed road and would be eight to 10 years at best. There would not be any gutter and drainage works carried out, which is the significant cost to road construction. The benefit to the residents is that they will have a road that looks and drives like a sealed road and will not have the dust problems.
"This is a sealing solution specifically designed for our island environment and road use," he said.
Cr. Edwards added: “people need to keep in mind that this type of road sealing is a low cost way to eliminate dust from roads that most likely would not get to be sealed in the conventional manner for at least the next ten plus years. They will need to understand that the drainage and gutters are not part of the work being considered.”
Currently, island roads are subject to the same construction methods and requirements as those on the mainland and transporting materials required to the islands adds to the cost.
It is not unusual for 1 km of road to cost $1 million and the time factor for construction can be many weeks.
Cr Edwards has long believed that island roads, outside the business areas, do not need the same construction methods that are employed on the mainland and the use of grass swale drains for example, reduce the construction cost so that more roads can be sealed.
"Many of our roads only have light traffic and a small amount of use so these may lend themselves to smaller sealed width and lawn verge.”
When asked about the likelihood of Council undertaking two spray seal of island roads, Cr. Edwards said: “The proposal is being assessed by Council engineers and there are probably two main aspects which need to be determined.
"The first is to ascertain which roads would be suitable and second to undertake a cost benefit analysis that the sealing would offset the maintenance cost of continued grading. If that case can be made, then we will be much closer to have a trial rolled out.”
Cr Edwards is supported in his thoughts by an island resident and Chartered Civil Engineer who currently has over 40 years of practical experience in major/minor road building for Local and State Government Roads.
John Clissold lives on Russell Island and is currently working on storm associated projects in northern Queensland.
He is involved with road construction methods that sees one kilometre of road constructed in a stunning four days, and he believes that Cr Edwards is on the right track and more value could be achieved in island road construction.
"Currently, council removes existing surface materials that could have been used for cheaper road reconstruction. If the road reconstruction can use existing treated materials and change the type of road construction methods, then immense savings can be made for road works." he says.
John Clissold believes that with existing budget spend for island roads, perhaps many more kilometres of roads could be sealed utilising a more common sense, tried method of approach.
"We don't have the traffic loadings of the mainland, and the environment and driving habits are very different. These facts need to be taken into design consideration," he told The Friendly Bay Islander.