Published: 28 November 2018

Legislative Council Thursday 22 November, 2018


In answer to a previous question regarding the deterioration in condition to recently upgraded sections of the Murchison Highway, the Leader responded -

The cause of the rapid surface deterioration is not yet clear and is being actively investigated by the department and the construction contractor.  Initial indications are the deterioration could be due either to material quality or to contractor workmanship.

The Leader further stated -

Once the cause of the failures is known, responsibly for the costs will be determined in consideration of all factors contributing to the failure including, and in addition to, defective work.  

(1)  Has the cause been identified? 

(2)  If so -

       (a)   what is the cause?

       (b)   who is responsible for meeting the costs of full repair?

(3)  If not, when is this information expected to be provided? 

(4)  What are the outcomes of the departmental review of its construction specifications and quality assurance processes, which the Leader referred to, that was to be undertaken to identify and manage any deficiencies that may have contributed to the recent surface deterioration?

(5)  Is the same contractor responsible for the upgrades and work undertaken on the Highland Lakes Road? 

(6)  Is this work also to be reviewed, as it is also unacceptably deteriorating?


Mr President, I thank the member for Murchison for her questions.

(1)  The contractor is still investigating the cause of the surface deterioration and will communicate to the department when the investigation has concluded.

(2)  (a)  The exact cause is not known at this stage.

       (b)  As previously described, the road seal failures arising from inadequate construction by the contractor are being addressed as defects to be repaired at the contractor's cost.

(3)  The investigations on the cause of the surface deterioration have not concluded and therefore at this time I cannot advise further.

(4)  The department is currently reviewing the procedures to ensure that compliance with the specifications is applied consistently by the contractors.  This is an ongoing process.  Recent improvements include -

•       specification amendments with clarification of the climate selected for seal design calculations appropriate to Tasmanian conditions

•        specification amendments with clarification of the skills, expertise and qualifications for persons undertaking the role of quality assurance verifier

•        Austroads' recent release of an updated seal design guide

•        increasing the auditing of construction contracts with a focus on pavement and sealing works.

(5)  No.

(6)  Yes.  The seal deterioration on the Highland Lakes Road roadworks has also been the subject of a review with no clear link between the two matters identified.

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