The current dry period has put the council between a rock and a hard place.
The ground is so dry that we can’t grade the roads to remove corrugations and pot holes, and we share the community’s frustrations. We appreciate everyone’s patience while we work through this challenging period and ask that people drive to the conditions.
Please continue reporting dangerous areas to us. We will assess every situation and make a call about what repairs we can do if any, but our options are very limited because of the dry conditions.
We rely on a level of ground moisture to bond graded gravel with the road’s sub surface, but at the moment there is just no moisture there.
When there is moisture, grading creates a relatively long-wearing surface that can last until the next scheduled maintenance. When the conditions are right, regular grading and topping up of the gravel keeps the road in good order.
This year the ground is so dry that the gravel and clay underneath can’t bond.
If we grade the road at this time of the year, the gravel we bring in from the sides of the roads digs into the underlying road surface, increasing corrugations and pot-holes.
Very quickly, loose gravel moves to the sides of the roads, leaving a bare patch in the middle. At the first hint of rain, that area holds water, softens up and before the surface can be metalled up or graded, potholes and scouring form.
Cutting deeper to remove pot holes while the road is dry does more damage to the road, only makes a difference for a few days, and usually causes an increase in complaints.
The only solution is to wait for rain, at which stage the soil moisture will increase and the crews can renew unsealed roads properly.