Maintenance costs on concrete paths $302-683 million by 2030

Path to nowhere. Why build a path that goes nowhere? Roads the are dead ends are seen as having little value but with paths, this type of thinking is not uncommon.

Using ACT Government data from their portal and the 2017 ACT Auditor General report, canberra.bike has estimated that the maintenance cost on ACT Government’s concrete paths will lie between $302-683 million by 2030. The ACT Auditor General recommends making provisions for this.

Methodology

Area of the concrete paths

The Footpaths in the ACT 2019 data from the ACT Open Data Portal data ACT provides the path owner, path width, and path material for all paths in the ACT as of August 2019. From this information, it is possible to calculate the total area of the paths.

The data was filter to include:

  • path owner: ACT Government
  • path material: concrete
  • path width: any.

The result is 2,655 km of concrete paths with an area of 3,783,448 m2. The paths are around 10 cm thick, which adds up to 0.378 million m3 of concrete.

Maintenance required and costs

The required maintenance and the costs are found in the ACT Auditory General Report No 5 of 2017 Maintenance of Selected Road Infrastructure Assets. The relevant sections are quoted below. The ACT Auditory General estimates that 60% of the paths will have reached their 50 year life span by 2030. These paths will require at the very least maintenance, but possibly replacing. The same report provides costs for maintenance of concrete paths (but not replacement). The “cost of maintenance work on footpaths ranges from approximately $133 per m2 to $301 per m2” ( ACT Auditory General Report No 5 of 2017 Maintenance of Selected Road Infrastructure Assets, 90).

Source data

Footpaths in the ACT 2019

The ACT Government makes data available to the community through the Open Data Portal data ACT. One of the datasets is the 2019 data for the community paths in the ACT.

Data: “Footpaths in the ACT 2019”, Community Paths in the ACT 2019, Open Data Portal data ACT, This dataset is up-to-date as of August 2019. ACT Transport, accessed 7 August 2020.

Cost of concrete path maintenance

ACT Auditory General Report No 5 of 2017 Maintenance of Selected Road Infrastructure Assets

5.30 The Roads ACT Operational Plan discusses lifecycle management for community paths and estimates that:
60% of the asphalt and concrete paths network will reach or exceed the expected life span of 50 years by 2030. The existing inspection systems are expected to identify areas when path
replacement is required.

ACT Auditory General Report No 5 of 2017 Maintenance of Selected Road Infrastructure Assets, 86.

5.52 The cost of maintenance work on community paths varies according to the type of repair. For example, under the Current Panel Contract (which ceases in November 2017) the cost of maintenance work on footpaths ranges from approximately $133 per m2 to $301 per m2; vehicular crossings from approximately $189 per L/m to $223 per L/m; and pram crossings averaging $1 005 per item.

ACT Auditory General Report No 5 of 2017 Maintenance of Selected Road Infrastructure Assets, 90.

Extract: Taking stock on community paths

How much of the path network is of the minimum standard for cycling? The ACT Government makes data available to the community through the Open Data Portal data ACT. One of the datasets is the 2019 data for the community paths in the ACT. The total length of the paths for each path width is shown in the graph below for the community paths in the ACT.

  • Total path network length: 3106 km.
  • Most common width: 1.2 m and a total length of 1667 km.
  • Next most common width: 2.5 m and a total length of 479 km.
  • The portion of the path network that has the 2.5 m minimum width suitable for cycling: 19% or 581 km.
For cycling the minimum path width is 2.5m. Width of Canberra community paths available through the Open Data Portal data ACT.

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