Drought

It's costing nearly $10,000 per day to maintain unsealed roads in the Upper Hunter Shire, thanks to the drought conditions

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It's costing nearly $10,000 per day to maintain unsealed roads in the Upper Hunter Shire, thanks to the drought. 

There are 954 kilometres of unsealed roads in the Shire and the cost has risen substantially during the drought, due to a lack of water sources close to work sites and the extra cost and time it takes to cart water in.

Road grading is not lasting anywhere near as long as it would have under normal conditions.

Upper Hunter Shire Council has three maintenance grading crews working full-time across the Shire, but there are still unsealed roads that are deteriorating.

In the current year, 2019/2020, Council has budgeted to spend around $1.9 million on maintenance grading unsealed roads and they'll also spend over $500,000 on gravel resheeting.

The total cost of road maintenance is around $2.4 million a year, or $9,600 each weekday.

Water is an essential part of maintenance grading with between 40,000 to 100,000 litres of water used by each maintenance grader team every day, to grade between 1km to 3kms of unsealed road.

Under normal conditions Council draws water from rivers and dams, but during this drought, water needs to be transported from further away. An extra water cart and the time taken to cart water can add an additional $1000 a day to the cost of a three person maintenance team on a grader, roller and one water cart.

Council have said that they appreciate how important road maintenance is and staff are working hard to maintain the road network under difficult conditions.

Motorists are urged to slow down and drive with care on unsealed roads.

Image credit: Upper Hunter Shire Council