Supervisor Heine Haworth (front), field worker Jeffrey Peters and truck driver Greg Ziebell.
They are not quite the holy trinity but three Ipswich council workers are doing some pretty divine work when it comes to road maintenance.
Supervisor Heine Haworth, field worker Jeffrey Peters and truck driver Greg Ziebell are at the forefront of an innovative new approach to road edge maintenance in Ipswich.
In years gone by, road edge repairs were done by hand and involved a crew manually sweeping a surface clean before applying emulsion then shovelling loads of asphalt from a truck and laying it on the road.
The work was time consuming, labour intensive and costly.
In recent weeks council put a new one-of-a-kind vehicle into action and with the support of an energetic crew it is already reaping positive results.
Routine maintenance coordinator Brett Allum said it was great to see it in action.
“Previously the work was done by hand but I had the idea that there must be a mechanical way to do it, so we started looking around for options,” he said.
Heine Haworth, Jeffrey Peters and Greg Ziebell.
Jeffrey Peters rolls the asphalt.
“We found Somerset council was using a truck and they were kind enough to give us a demonstration.
“We knew then that it would work for us but we had a few ideas for how we wanted to change the truck to better suit our needs.”
The major change was in how the truck feeds asphalt to the road.
Most edge paving trucks feed asphalt from the left, making it difficult for the driver on the right side of the cab to keep a straight line when working.
Ipswich crews had the idea of having the asphalt feed from the right, improving safety for the crew and visibility for the driver.
A high-speed rotating broom was also attached, speeding up the process of preparing the roadside surface prior to the emulsion and asphalt being laid.
When Ipswich First visited the edging team at work on a roadside at Rosewood they had just completed in one morning work that would have previously taken a week.
Mr Allum said road edge repair was an important part of council’s maintenance regime.
“It’s about not only ensuring the road is safe for motorists but it also extends the life of the road, which means we don’t have to rebuild our roads as often and that mean savings for ratepayers,” he said.
Heine Haworth and Jeffrey Peters with the asphalt feeder.
A repaired stretch of road at Rosewood.
“Precision is key in this type of work and I can’t speak highly enough of the team who have taken up the challenge of using this new piece of equipment.
“Greg is a perfectionist when it comes to driving, Jeffrey is an ideas man and Heine is top supervisor.
“Another major benefit is the technology in the truck, such as the weight sensor.
“In years gone by a crew used to have to estimate the amount of asphalt they had left and take a guess whether they could do another job or needed to go back to the depot and refill.
“Now we have an accurate reading of the amount of material left in the truck so the crew knows exactly how much work they can get done before needing to refill.”
Ipswich City Council maintains 1,674km of sealed roads.