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AgLife: Time for road repair, damage control after storms

Summer storms have caused soil erosion on farm roads, tracks and driveways across Victoria.

Agriculture Victoria land management extension officer Clem Sturmfels said the key to controlling damage was drainage.

“Good surface drainage, wide and stable table drains and closely spaced run-offs to direct the water away from the roadway are vital. Additionally, the roadway needs to have stable, well-drained foundations and a hard-wearing gravel, concrete or bitumen surface,” he said.

Mr Sturmfels said class-one or class-two materials, a mix of quarry dust and larger aggregate, made for a stable and hard-wearing surface without the need for a surface seal.

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“Roadways can be constructed on quite steep slopes using these techniques,” he said.

“A well-built road should only require occasional grading and a top dressing with gravel every few years.

“Roadways cut into the side of a hill will need regular culverts or other forms of cross drainage. A simple speed hump or roll-over is a cheap and easy way to divert water.

“Wherever possible, roads, tracks and driveways should follow ridgelines to minimise the need for cross drainage.”

Mr Sturmfels said the best way to create good surface drainage was crowning the centre of the road.

The crown needs to be high enough to rapidly shed water away from the centre of the road. An alternative method, commonly used on bush tracks, is to slope the road surface into, or away from the side of a hill.

He said roadside table drains should have a flat base to spread and slow the speed of the water and, ideally, would have a good cover of grass to protect them from erosion.

“A well-established grass table drain can safely carry a similar flow of water to a typical rock-lined drain,” he said. “If using a rock-lined drain, it’s important to make it wide and deep enough to carry the anticipated flow.

“Run-offs or cut-off drains are used to take water from the table drain to a safe disposal area.

“They should be spaced 50 to 100 metres apart on gently sloping roadways but only 15 to 20 metres apart on steep roads, tracks and driveways.”

People wanting more information can go to

The entire January 31, 2024 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire January 31, 2024 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!