Truckies slam state of Roper Highway

FED UP: Truck driver Lindsay Davies says the Roper Highway is disgusting and dangerous. Picture: Chris McLennan

FED UP: Truck driver Lindsay Davies says the Roper Highway is disgusting and dangerous. Picture: Chris McLennan

A KATHERINE truck driver has slammed the condition of the long unsealed section of the Roper Highway.

Lindsay Davies said the condition of about 70 kilometres of the well used highway was “disgusting”.

Roper Highway

Mr Davies has special inside knowledge of the Roper as he used to drive graders and maintain sections of the highway in the past.

The Northern Territory Government department responsible for the Roper Highway agrees it has “significant corrugations”.

Mr Davies said on a recent trip transporting heavy equipment he had to stop for 90 minutes to let air out of his truck’s tyres and slow down to 40kmh for the whole trip.

“It adds hours to the trip but it is the only safe way,” he said.

“But even then it rattled one of the headlights apart on that trip.”

The highway is the responsibility of the NT Government although many complaints are made to Roper Gulf Regional Council.

“We complain constantly and encourage others to as well,” council community services director Sharon Hillen said.

She said the council passed on reports of road hazards to the department.

A Department of Infrastructure spokeswoman said the unsealed section of the Roper Highway, 134km from 200km to Ngukurr, currently has significant corrugations due to heavy construction traffic travelling to the Ngukurr and Numbulwar communities.

“Maintenance works were started on this section in July and will continue in coming weeks to improve the condition of these sections of road,” the spokeswoman said.

“The Roper Highway is graded between three and five times each year and is inspected at fortnightly intervals.

“Grading is undertaken in accordance with established practices throughout the year. The corrugation does tend to be worse during the dry season.

“The Northern Territory Government and Australian Government  currently has over $60 million invested in road upgrades on the Roper Highway with a project to deliver a further extension of the seal is scheduled for later this year.”

Mr Davies said the obvious answer was to schedule more regular grading and re-gravelling of several sections where the gravel has worn away.

He said in many areas the gravel had been pushed off the surface of the highway and needed to be graded back.

“Although in a lot of areas the gravel has worn through the sub-grade.”

“It’s not rocket science is it, they have not increased the bitumen on it for 30 years,” Mr Davies said.

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