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Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavement (1976)


This documentary made by the New South Wales Department of Main Roads features the reconstruction of a five-and-a-half kilometre stretch of the Pacific Highway at Clybucca Flat, north of Kempsey, using continuously reinforced concrete pavement (CRCP). It includes footage of the road prior to maintenance, aerial shots of Clybucca Creek and the Macleay River, the lowering of the sub-grade level, the design and testing of suitable concrete pavement mixes, field compaction trials, the laying of the CRCP and the finishing of the final road surface.

Curator’s notes

The Clybucca Flat project was the first time continuously reinforced concrete pavement was used in New South Wales. The challenge for the DMR in repairing this stretch of the Pacific Highway was not raising the level of the road surface, which would have impeded the flood waters. Regular flooding by the Macleay River since the road was constructed in the 1940s had caused deterioration of the flexible concrete surface, large potholes and increasing maintenance costs. Continuously reinforced concrete pavement – a low maintenance, jointless concrete pavement – was considered the best solution and the project was completed in June 1976, 12 months after initiation.

An explanatory voice-over narration presents the challenges of the project from initial testing and assessment through to completion. Unlike many other films made for the NSW Department of Main Roads, this film lacks a musical soundtrack. It was probably made for internal use at the department to demonstrate the successful application of CRCP in a major infrastructure project. Other DMR films, such as those made by Kingcroft Productions (for example, Sydney-Newcastle Expressway, 1968), used music partly to sell their construction projects to the general public. Here, the lack of music accentuates the pauses in narration and draws out the action.

The NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (successor to the NSW DMR) has documented the developments in concrete pavement construction through its oral history program. Excerpts from interviews with engineers, builders and designers who worked on a range of concrete projects, including this one, can be accessed through the RTA website.