Parts of the famed and much-loved Oxley Highway are melting in recent heatwave conditions, prompting a departmental inspection to assess the dangers to motorcyclists.
Local rider Ken Healey says on the Port Macquarie Road Riders Facebook page that the road 25km west of Gingers Creek not far past the 80km/h zone is melting in the heat.
He says the lines of molten tar are “right on the line your bike is going to take”.
Photographs on this page were taken when the temperature was 31C.
“The road was re-surfaced here about two years ago,” says Ken who organised the Save the Oxley petition and rally to retain the highway speed limits..
“Clearly it is not lasting and extremely dangerous.”
He says he and another rider had a front-tyre slip out on the molten tar.
We contacted Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) about the melting road and they said they said it would be inspected.
“The Mid North Coast maintenance teams are inspecting the section of the Oxley Highway this week, to determine if any further work is needed to ensure the safety of road users,” a spokesperson says.
A similar melting incident was encountered last summer on Mt Glorious Rd west of Brisbane.
One rider crashed in the molten tar and the road was subsequently resurfaced.
Melting road surfaces have also been encountered on recent roadworks on the mountain section of the Oxley Highway.
“It is already getting slippery on the new surface that is only a few weeks old, on the bottom half of the mountain,” Ken says.
“It will be ripped to bits by the end of summer and even more dangerous.
The RMS says it is “investing in the safety of Oxley Highway with a significant package of work recently implemented along the corridor”.
Roads and Maritime undertook resealing work in November and December on the Oxley Highway between Toms Creek and 85 kilometres west of Wauchope, which includes work in the mountain section.
“This reseal was comprised of a spray seal mix of bitumen and aggregate,” the spokesperson says.
“It is acknowledged motorbike riders frequently use the Oxley Highway for recreational purposes.
“Riders need to take safety precautions at all times while riding and this includes being aware of the road environment, particularly during extreme temperatures at this time of year – which can affect road surfaces.”
From Sunday (January 13, 2019) there will be lane closures at Spencers Cutting for roadworks on a 1.2km section of the highway.
To reduce impact on traffic, work will be carried out between 6pm and 6am from Sunday and is expected to be complete by Friday 25 January, weather permitting.
Traffic control and a reduced speed limit of 40km/h will be in place.
For the latest traffic updates download the Live Traffic NSW App, visit livetraffic.com or call 132 701.
This is not the first time riders have complained about roadworks on the Oxley Highway.
In May 2018, they expressed concern about the placement of low-friction ripple strips on the road.
Riders said they considered the ripple strips to be dangerous to riders.