8 January 2024

Crews mobilise as stormy summer feeds grass and potholes

| Ian Bushnell
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long grass at an intersection

Not a good look: an overgrown Canberra Avenue median on the approach to Parliament House. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Gardeners may be delighting in the rolling thunder of a summer so far but the regular deluges are once again producing overgrown medians and opening up roads around Canberra.

El Niño has not yet created the hot, dry summer the Bureau of Meteorology had forecast, which would have given the government mowing and road repair teams some relief after successive wet seasons turned the capital into a jungle and wreaked havoc with its roads.

The grass growth may not be as relentless and the potholes as prolific as at the height of the big wet yet, but the persistent storms are keeping crews on their toes, and there is catch-up after the holiday pause.

A government spokesperson said most mowing crews had returned to work after the Christmas break.

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During the break, mowing was limited to sports grounds for summer sport and recreation, but the team was now back mowing suburbs and major roads.

Crews were starting at 7 am to get through as much work during the daylight hours, but it was a constant battle.

“Due to recent rain, the grass is growing quickly, even in areas that have been recently mowed,” the spokesperson said.

“In some areas, it can be too damp to mow after heavy rain as machines can get bogged and damage the grass.

“If this is the case, our mowing teams will return to these areas when the grass has dried.”

pothole under a moving truck

Tough times again for Canberra roads and drivers. Photo: James Coleman.

The spokesperson said that due to this week’s storms, some mowing crews would be rostered for extra shifts this weekend when drier weather was expected.

Road crews were also out and about this week repairing potholes along major arterial roads.

The spokesperson said that at present, there are 35 known pothole repairs to be completed along the ACT road network, most of which will be repaired within the next week.

The multiple La Niña-driven wet seasons took a heavy toll on ACT roads and vehicles, with regular reports of popped tyres and damaged wheels that overwhelmed repair shops.

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In certain circumstances, drivers can apply for compensation for the cost of repairs. In 2021 and 2022, the governments paid out tens of thousands of dollars to motorists.

The government also had to allocate additional funding to deal with the extra mowing and road repairs required.

The spokesperson said people should report any potholes or issues relating to long grass through the Fix My Street portal.

Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on Riotact.

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