Unseals Roads

The purpose of the unsealed road network is to provide cost effective movement of goods, produce and people, across a safe surface.

Council has 772 kilometres of unsealed road with less than 1km in urban areas and the remainder rural roads. The majority of these roads are no exit provide access to low usage areas of the network such as farms and forestry blocks. The impact of increasing forestry vehicles on historically very low volume roads is significant, as many unsealed roads have not been designed to carry heavy loads. Investment in maintenance, renewal and improvements is increasing to accommodate this, and is expected to increase future with future forestry harvest and traffic load predictions.

Important activities include:

  • Network inspections; identification, assessment and recording of road defect information to enable robust maintenance programming.
  • Cyclic patrols; remedying minor road defects such as potholes on a cyclic basis, where the road’s patrol frequency is based on its classification (or function and use), to ensure a safe level of service is being provided.
  • Cyclic maintenance; grading of unsealed roads to remedy defects (potholes, corrugations, etc.) and restore the surface shape and strength. The grading frequency of a road can range from monthly to 6-monthly and is dependent on a range of factors including; function and use, material, climate, topography, width, and strength.
  • Programmed maintenance; addition of maintenance metal or lime to restore the road’s wearing course and/or minimise nuisance dust, or isolated pavement repairs to address deep seeded issues.
  • Pavement renewal; significant rebuild of the road to restore and/or increase pavement strength and minimise increasing and ongoing maintenance costs.
  • Minor improvements; generally carried out in conjunction with the pavement renewal to improve safety, such as widening, realignment, and sight distance improvements.

Council resolved as part of the 2018-28 Long Term Plan to recommence seal extensions (converting unsealed road to sealed road), which have not be carried out for some time. One to two kilometres of seal extension will be completed per year, prioritised predominantly on safety benefits.