A Main Roads team of geotechnical experts will this week investigate “tar snake” repairs to cracks that riders have claimed caused several motorcycle crashes.
The dangerous “tar snakes” or liquid-tar crack sealant remain on Mt Tamborine’s famous “Goat Track” despite causing three motorcycle crashes and one bicycle crash.
Last Friday, Motorbike Writer called a press conference on the site and TV crews and local media were met by a Main Roads crew photographing and surveying the site.
They wouldn’t say what they were doing except that a call had been received from the Main Roads Minister’s office to inspect the scene following our article about the dangerous roadworks.
We are still waiting on a statement from Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey.
“The Minister is aware of the issue and has asked TMR to immediately investigate the surface condition of the road,” his office told us last week, promising a statement on Monday. We are still waiting.
Meanwhile, Main Roads has issued the following statement today:
We seal cracks to stop water entering the pavement.
Pot holes can form and sometimes landslides can result from water getting into the earth under the gravel.
When we seal cracks, we also examine whether we can improve traction by adding grit to the surface.
Our geotechnical team will be investigating the cracks this week.
One of the crashed riders, primary school principal Lex Bowden, said he was hopeful something would be done about the roadworks to “save the life of a father or mother”.
His Hayabusa hit a tar snake, skidded off the road and down a steep embankment.
The tar snakes, or liquid tar crack sealant, are on a hairpin corner of Mt Tamborine Rd, about 1.5km north of the Canungra turnoff.
A recent Austroads report says crack sealant has low skid resistance and may be more dangerous to motorcyclists than the cracks themselves.
Motorbike Writer has inspected the site and noted the tar snake Lex hit and can confirm the marks left by his tyre followed by the scrape marks of the bike.
Lex was on the inside of the corner, apexing exactly where he should. There is an imprint of his front tyre in the slippery tar which probably also had some morning dew on it. The bike immediately went down, leaving scratch marks on the road to the point it wen over the cliff edge.
From the entry point of the corner you can see the whole road, but because the tar snakes are in shade, it is impossible to see them until you are almost on them.
The Motorcycle Riders’ Association of Queensland has described the Mt Tamborine patch-up repair job as “careless”.
“The long crack repairs are a problem but more so the large area repairs that have been done with the liquid tar fill because they now make a greater single area of low traction which will cause a two wheel vehicle to loose control,” an MRAQ statement says.
“This system of road maintenance is a low-cost one aimed solely at preventing water entry into the road surface which could cause further deterioration.
“However little or no consideration of vulnerable road users appears to be taken into consideration when this type of repair is done and in this particular instance the repair type appears to have been done in excess of any reasonable limit.”
The statement says Main Roads is using high-traction aggregate mixtures to resurface other roads with tight corners such as the M1 turn-off to the Gateway.
“Unfortunately it appears only to be used on higher-volume road surfaces,” the MRAQ says.
“Consideration of the traction quality of the road surface and in particular when performing any repairs must be part of the final solution mix and the MRAQ calls upon all levels of government and road construction contractors to have much greater consideration of the whole vehicle fleet that use our roads when formulating any program of road repair or construction.”
The MRAQ also expressed concern about “excessively large areas of road profiling left unfinished when resealing or resurfacing is being performed” and loose material left behind after road repairs.
“A greater duty of care needs to be considered by all those concerned with the building and repair of Queensland roads,” the MRAQ says.
The shoddy repairs on Mt Tamborine are an example of shoddy roadworks that are endemic throughout our nation.
Too many road repairs are done on the cheap and the roadworks crews do not properly tidy up afterwards, leaving behind lumpy tar snakes, gravel and other potential hazards to motorcyclists.
This has led to many motorcycle crashes, injuries and even deaths. It should not be tolerated.
Yes, we should all ride to the conditions, but when the conditions are changed by unexpected shoddy roadworks procedures, we should demand something better of our governments.
Motorcycles are the fastest growing motorised sector and we are the most vulnerable road users. Those two factors mean more effort should be put into protecting motorcyclists.