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Sand used to treat melting Oxley Highway

Oxley Highway sand fix
Oxley beached as

Riders have been alarmed to find sand over a section of the Oxley Highway where hot weather has caused the asphalt to melt and become slippery.

The Roads and Maritime Services was alerted to the problem last week and said they would inspect the surface this week.

“Sand was placed on the Oxley Highway to address soft pavement issues following extreme weather conditions and to improve traction,” an RMS spokesperson says.

“Excess sand is now being removed and a reduced speed of 60km/h is in place until further work is completed on the pavement surface.

“LiveTraffic will be updated to alert riders to the potential hazard at the location.”Oxley Highway sand

Local rider Ken Healey reported the sand on the Port Macquarie Road Riders Facebook page.

It has been placed over melting tar on the road about 25km west of Gingers Creek not far past the 80km/h zone.

He says there are warning signs in place but was critical of the thick sand left behind.Oxley Highway sand

RMS says “:further surface treatment is required”.

“Roads and Maritime Services is working with Walcha Council to carry out this work in the coming weeks, taking into account appropriate weather conditions required for this treatment,” the spokesperson says.

The molten tar lines are “right on the line your bike is going to take”, Ken says.

These photographs 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.

Melting moments

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 tar claims first crash victim Mt Glorious costly engineers events steal reservations bitumen
Bike crashes into armco on molten bitumen

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.

Oxley roadworks

The RMS told us last week 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.”

Save the Oxley organiser Ken Healey on his BMW K 1300 R - Motorcycle Friendly Town (Photo: Keoghs Vision Photography) siege flawed temporary repairs
Save the Oxley organiser Ken Healey on his BMW K 1300 R (Photo: Keoghs Vision Photography)

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 or call 132 701.

More complaints

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.

  1. Sand, seriously!
    What planet are these people actually on?
    With all the kerfuffle regarding the Oxley Highway (which I love) over the last 2 years, one begins to wonder if stopping motorcycles using it all together is the twisted plan of some bureaucrat motorcycle hater!

  2. Recently came across road rehabilitation works by VicRoads east of Leongatha on the strezlecki highway. The contract or stripper off the tarmac, but the soft sludgy subsurface was worst than VicRoads thought. My partner and I were doing around 20km in the road work 40km limit, the cars in front had moved some distance down the road and we only just managed to walk it through the rutts. More than just loose gravel and wet subsurface to deal with, deep soft wheel rutts, reported to VicRoads who got back to the next day. Played it safe a took a different route back the next day

  3. Sand on the corner, you got to be kidding me. How is this not a potential manslaughter case? The incompetence is unbelievable.

  4. Spray seal and aggregate on ANY MAIN road should not be allowed in Australia, not even as a temporary fix. The councils and state governments need to hotmix these roads as a matter of urgency. Lives are at stake on these dangerous roads. It is not good when we are riding around some twisties somewhere on a great day, nice roads with plenty of grip and all of a sudden there is a patch of spray seal and gravel on a bend with no warning signs in place. You know the rest. We are not a third world country are we. Lets get serious Australia
    But alas, we are not worthy.

  5. The Public has to ask itself, if it needs the Community resources spent on Football Stadium’s or basic infrastructure like better RURAL roads ?
    If you look at the cost of re building a 3 lane each way highway intersection with flyover bridge works, there a lot of this money pot sucked up in one project, in one place, for one Community.
    There is choice to be made. Is it better to downgrade a bit the quality of these elite freeway jobs?

  6. Wow… The view from a fan in the US. With all the things you have been reporting on regarding riding in AU…. Is this a frog in boiling water. Is the Nanny state tighting the grip to the point where people will stop riding due to hassle of it all. AU is part of that Vision Zero stuff that has a goal to eliminate motorcycles. Cue XFiles music

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