Main Roads is pleased that the Audit has found that Main Roads has improved its knowledge of the condition of the road network and the performance of its contractors. In particular that the current integrated Service Arrangement (ISA) model of contracting has improved levels of control over maintenance through staff being directly involved in managing maintenance.
During 2017 Main Roads will begin introducing the next generation of contracting model. Main Roads will ensure that lessons learnt from the ISA’s are carried forward and that recommendations from this Audit are implemented. These new contracts are expected to take advantage of the very competitive market for engineering services that currently exists in Western Australia. Through more competitive pricing and better performance from these contracts it is expected that more maintenance will be able to be done each year for the same amount of funding than previously. Combined with an expected return to historical funding levels for maintenance the backlog of overdue maintenance should be able to be reduced.
Main Roads accepts the six recommendations and the timeframes for their implementation. A comprehensive strategy to address the maintenance backlog focussing on whole of life cost will be implemented by July 2017. Structural changes have already been put in place so that capital and maintenance programming decisions are made in the one responsibility area. This will mean that maintenance funding decisions will not be made in isolation of planned future capital works projects.
Pavement age alone does not reflect the pavement performance and many roads are performing well beyond their nominal 40 year design life. The actual life of the pavement will be impacted by various factors including quality of the naturally occurring pavement material, geological and climatic conditions, traffic volumes and traffic composition (particularly heavy vehicles) and timely pavement repairs and resurfacing.
New technologies in asphalt are currently being used in other States and internationally that achieve cost savings, better pavement performance and shorter construction timeframes. The Minister for Transport approved in December 2015 a four year agreement with the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) to research, develop and guide implementation of the latest advancements in pavement engineering from other States and overseas.