Drought affects road network in Sapphire Gemfields

THE ongoing dry spell is having more than just an effect on livestock and agriculture as road users in the Sapphire Gemfields are discovering. 

Central Highlands Regional Council advises the regular grading schedule for the Sapphire Gemfields' unsealed road network cannot be continued because there is no water available.

Councillor Gai Sypher explained water is an essential ingredient for effective road maintenance.

"Water is used by the road crews to suppress dust on and around the site and as an agent to bind the gravel and create a smooth road surface," she explained.

"While there is a standpipe in Sapphire, we don't use treated water on roads and the nearest untreated water supply is a dam nearly 40 kilometres away - that's a 80-kilometre round trip, times many trips for each job - and clearly would escalate the cost of the road maintenance to an unsustainable level.

"Council officers will continue to regularly inspect the roads and 'patch' any problems that are deemed hazardous to public safety.

"The message is clear: drive to conditions," Cr Sypher said.

"Excessive speed and hard braking creates pot holes and corrugations, so take it easy on the roads for their sake and your safety."


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