National road maintenance backlog

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National road maintenance backlog

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EARLY STAGE PROPOSAL
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POTENTIAL INVESTMENT OPTIONS
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INVESTMENT READY PROPOSAL
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PROJECT DELIVERY
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POST COMPLETION REVIEW

National road maintenance backlog

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LOCATION
National
GEOGRAPHY
National
SECTOR
Transport
OUTCOME CATEGORY
Asset Renewal
PROPONENT
Infrastructure Australia identified proposal
PROBLEM TIMEFRAME
Near term (0-5 years)
DATE ADDED
26 February 2020
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Problem

The cost of maintaining roads in Australia is growing and the overall maintenance backlog is increasing.

Australia’s road network faces increasing demands from a growing population.

Total vehicle kilometres travelled grew on average by 1.95% per annum between 1998 and 2018. The size of the network is

also growing, with the expansion of existing roads and the construction of new ones.

Meanwhile, there is a limited link between funding for road services and the actual

use of roads. This leads to funding challenges for ongoing maintenance, particularly where the capital expenditure of new roads is funded and future maintenance is not.

The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit identifies an underspend on historical maintenance, short budgetary and funding cycles, a lack of data and incentives, and inadequate reporting as factors contributing to maintenance backlogs across infrastructure sectors.

The 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan identifies that heavy vehicle use increases road maintenance needs because of pavement damage.

Early-stage Proposal

The proposal would address the road maintenance backlog across local, state and national roads. Key steps include:

  • a comprehensive review of road condition across Australia using standardised data and criteria
  • prioritising and fixing roads in poor condition using a structured and evidence-based process
  • considering reform options, including road regulatory reform and more structural reforms such as road-user charging.

There is also an opportunity to implement more pre-emptive maintenance. Early maintenance on assets such as pavement can significantly reduce future costs, if timed correctly.

This proposal requires action from local and state/territory governments to identify, categorise and prioritise the necessary responses in their areas of responsibility.

A Queensland National Land Transport Network (NLTN) maintenance proposal is separately included on the Infrastructure Priority List as the Queensland Government has developed a structured program approach to addressing the maintenance backlog for the sections of the NLTN in Queensland.

Next Steps

This proposal calls for program submissions that relate to road maintenance needs  at a jurisdictional level.

We encourage relevant organisations to fully assess this problem in their respective state or territory (Stage 1 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework) prior to identifying and analysing potential investment options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework.

 

Refer to Infrastructure Glossary for terms and definitions.