Second road seal problem prompts investigation calls

A Labor senator has requested the Tasmanian Government detail what quality controls are in place to prevent recurring problems with the state’s highway surfaces.

This year the road surface on the Midland Highway and Highland Lake Highway has broken up shortly after resealing works.

Labor senator Helen Polley said the community had raised concerns with her about “large bitumen holes” on the new sealing of the Highland Lake Highway, between Miena and Liawenee.

“There are numerous potholes and wheel tracks breaking through the new sealing,” she said. 

“People are contacting my office about the disgraceful condition of the new road completed less than seven months ago.”

The Department of State Growth this week confirmed the contractor was investigating the Highland Lake Highway after the road’s disintegration. 

Senator Polley questioned Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding about what quality-control processes were in place for road improvement works “to ensure integrity of our road network”. 

Senator Polley wrote to Mr Hidding about the condition of the new sealing project on the Highland Lakes Highway.

Labor senator Helen Polley.

Labor senator Helen Polley.

She questioned the safety of the road and whether the government would assess the standards of the contractor’s work. 

Mr Hidding hit back, saying the department was examining the cause of seal damage on the alpine road.

“The issue with Highland Lakes Road is completely unrelated to the issue with Perth-Breadalbane which is being rectified by the responsible contractor,” he said. 

“However, the Department reviews all contracts to assess contractor performance and contract design.

“Importantly, any repairs that are needed for fixing defective roadworks are done at the contractor’s expense - not the taxpayers.”

Mr Hidding said there was evidence of mechanical damage to the seal occurring after construction, with water allowed to enter the pavement – leading to rapid deterioration of the surface.