THE condition of country roads and the process of road repair and contractor warranty was raised in a State Budget Estimates committee meeting at State Parliament last Wednesday.
When questioning the government on regional road funding, The Nationals WA Roe MLA Peter Rundle (pictured right) asked Transport Minister Rita Saffioti if she had driven on Albany Highway between Armadale and Williams in recent months, to which she replied, no.
"I am very concerned about the state of the roads and the new work that has been done over the past 12 or 18 months that is now being relaid," Mr Rundle said.
"Where it has been relaid, within the space of a week or two, there seem to be various areas that need to be redone.
"How does it play out when a few kilometres of road that has been redone then has to be redone the following year?"
Mr Rundle asked how the government interacted with contractors and who paid for the work that had to be redone.
He also wanted to know how the standard of work was measured.
Ms Saffioti said they were "shocked" about how much rain they received last year, particularly in the Great Southern.
"Last winter that entire area was very, very wet and there was a lot of damage, and not only to roads," Ms Saffiori said.
She said every time the South Coast Highway was inspected it was raining.
"There was a lot of significant rainfall, which impacted on our roadworks, particularly in that area," she said.
Ms Saffioti also said the State government was excited about returning a lot of the maintenance work back into Main Roads.
"That is to facilitate continuous quality control and engage a lot more small contractors," she said.
"I spoke to the acting head of the WA Local Government Association about road maintenance and how we can be more proactive in regional WA.
"If there is a small job that needs to be addressed we can be more proactive in dealing with it and maybe prevent wider damage.
"That is one of the benefits of bringing long-term maintenance contracts in-house."
The government said any defective work would be covered by a defective warranty period.
Department of Transport director general Peter Woronzow said when contractors were doing the work, they had people assessing what was being done.
The estimates committee heard if there was a defective job, the contractor would return and reinstate it.
Mr Rundle said he recently drove on one of the major regional highways early in the morning, noting gravel and potholes on a road that had been redone in the past 12 months.
"I understand that it is obviously preferable to do this work in the summertime is there any direction on trying to maximise summer work and minimise winter work," Mr Rundle asked.
Mr Woronzow referred to "sealing seasons" where there were optimal ambient temperature windows to lay bitumen.
"However, there are times when a project might start when the ambient temperature is satisfactory, but during the laying of the bitumen the weather might change and the temperature might drop," Mr Woronzow said.
"It might start raining.
"Those things catch people out from time to time, but we have surveillance officers on all the work that is done by Main Roads, and as the minister was describing, it is all done by contract."
Mr Woronzow said if contracted work did not mean the appropriate standard, it had to be repaired.
Mr Rundle also quizzed the government on the warranty periods.
The government said if a contractor was doing a major piece of work, the defect liability was seven years and if the work was minor, it was 12 months.
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