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Melting road a headache and expense | The New Daily

Melting road a headache and expense | The New Daily

A botched bitumen job on a road in Queensland’s far north has caused chaos, with tyres covered in tar and vehicles having to be abandoned.

Other cars have been damaged by lumps of tar thrown off the tyres of trucks and cars on a stretch of the Millaa Millaa-Malanda Road on the Atherton Tablelands.

Authorities closed the road on Wednesday after more than a dozen motorists had to have tyres replaced after the bitumen lifted.

Vince Whalley, who runs a tyre shop at Malanda, 70 kilometres south of Cairns, told the ABC that damage to vehicles had been significant: “The tar coming off the tyres is knocking bumper bars loose, taking panels out underneath.”

He said one tourist paid $1200 for a new set of tyres.

Motorist Bridget Daley told the ABC her tyres were covered in bitumen, which had also flown off, striking her bumper bar and snapping it off.

“I was absolutely horrified to find that there was [75 millimetres] of bitumen coated around all four wheels of my vehicle,” she said.

“It was like we were insects caught in a spider’s web and we were sinking.

“There were people that were pulled up on the side of the road and they were in total and complete disbelief as to what had happened to their vehicles.”

Another driver posted to social media saying the roads were a disgrace.

“We now have chipped paint and windscreen damage to our brand new car,” Anissa Rasmussen wrote.

“We were stopped by police at Tarzali, 10 kilometres from our destination, because cars were broken down, covered in tar, with it coating their wheels.”

Tablelands Regional Council Mayor Joe Paronella said a change of weather led to the chaos.

“I have never seen anything like it,” he said.

Cr Paronella said a section of the road was repaired by a Main Roads contractor a week ago. There were initial problems when gravel failed to stick to the bitumen.

“We started getting reports in the middle of last week from people getting stones and gravel flying up everywhere,” he said. “We helped with brooms to get the gravel off.”

That was during a period of cold, wet weather. But Deborah Stacey, from nearby Jaggan, told News Corp the problems really started when the weather improved on Wednesday and the bitumen turned to glue.

“We had a week of cracked windscreens, RACQ have been doing three to four a day,” she said.

“Then as soon as the sun came out, it started sticking … There was emulsion everywhere; a lot of soft tar sprayed in big globs and sticking to trucks wheels.”

Small towns, including Jaggan, were isolated while the main road was closed.

Cr Paronella urged those who had been caught up in the issues to contact Main Roads.

“I would certainly be talking to the department about possible compensation,” he said.

A spokesperson for Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads said it was aware of the issues. The road had re-opened, with speed restrictions, after emergency repairs.

-with agencies

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