Identifying and implementing best practice models for management of unsealed road networks in NSW Local Government to achieve sustainability

Rath, Jaymes (2022) Identifying and implementing best practice models for management of unsealed road networks in NSW Local Government to achieve sustainability. [USQ Project]

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Roads are the largest asset that Local, and State Government within Australia have authority over. They are responsible for ensuring the roads are maintained in a safe efficient manner to allow simplified logistics for the transportation of critical goods, public transport and agricultural produce.

Central Western New South Wales in renowned for broad acre cropping, mining, and grazing. These industries rely heavily on unsealed roads being pro-actively managed and adequately funded to provide an acceptable level of service to the community and Industries. The intent of the project is to investigate current practices in unsealed road construction at Weddin Shire Council through local surveys, gravel sample data and available geological information, this information is fundamental in understanding the mechanisms of unsealed road wearing courses which will emanate to proposing a new best practice model.

The current maintenance and construction practices were examined, providing a key insight into the shortfall of technical knowledge regarding unsealed road wearing course material. The literature review focused primarily on material properties and characteristics of the unsealed road wearing course which is the upper one hundred millimetres of pavement in most cases.

The project aimed to bolster current understanding of unsealed road wearing courses whilst strongly focusing on sustainability in the best practice. This includes utilisation of local material through stabilising methods of blending material at ratios to achieve the desired geotechnical attributes of material. Eleven active gravel pits were analysed for their geotechnical properties which were uploaded into a dynamic excel spreadsheet which automatically calculated material properties based off the provided information and calculated haulage costs which was used to determine the feasibility of blends. A total of twelve potential blends were developed which consisted of eight two pit blends and four three pit blends. All gravel pits analysed shared the common lacking fines and clay. This attribute meant no theoretical blend could produce entirely conformant blends, the addition of bentonite or fly ash would supplement this deficit and result in conformant blends which have an extended asset life.

The project achieved a correlation between material mechanical properties and available geological lithology information available through DiGS. Further analysis of this would provide a helpful tool for local government to utilise in determining a prospective gravel pit site which is conducive to conformant material. The dynamic spreadsheet could be further developed to host this feature of searching for such gravel pit sites.

From key findings in this project, it is hoped the proposed best practice guide will combat the current shortfall and fulfil its purpose of sustainably managing unsealed road networks for rural NSW.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current – Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Engineering (1 Jan 2022 -)
Supervisors: Mirzaghorbanali, Ali
Qualification: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Civil)
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2023 23:26
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2023 01:15
Uncontrolled Keywords: unsealed road; sustainability; maintenance

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