Transport Canberra and City Services

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs - Reseal Works
FAQs - Asphalt Works

FAQs - Reseal Works


My street looks OK, why is it being resurfaced?

As a road surface gets older the bitumen oxidises, becomes brittle and then cracks. These cracks allow water to enter the base layers of the road leading to the formation of potholes. Resurfacing waterproofs your street and stops the water from damaging the road.

Resurfacing the road is like repainting your house. It prevents damage from the weather and extends the life of your house.

How often is resurfacing done?

There are many types of road resurfacing used in Canberra but the most common is resealing. The lifespan of a resurfacing treatment depends on a number of factors including traffic volume, traffic speed, the previous construction treatments used and the effects of the sun over time.

We aim to resurface 5 percent of our arterial roads and 4 percent of our municipal streets each year. Some roads like the Tuggeranong Parkway may only get ten years out of a resurfacing treatment, while a quiet cul de sac may only be resurfaced every 25 years.

Why is my street to be resealed while other roads have asphalt.

Like many city’s around Australia, we utilise road resealing as it is a more cost effective alternative to asphalt which is normally reserved for heavily trafficked roads and critical locations like busy intersections. This allows a greater amount of the road network to be addressed each year.

How long will the work take?

Resealing work on residential streets are usually completed in a day. In some cases, when work is undertaken at the end of a day, the work may be completed the following day. Most residential streets will only have work crews on site for several hours.

When will the work begin?

You will receive information in your letter box about the upcoming works, in the week prior to resurfacing works starting. This information will direct you to the resurfacing website ( and social media which will inform you which roads will be resurfaced each day.

Signage will also be erected on the day of works.

The work crew will resurface a number of streets in a day and may commence works anytime between 8 am and 5 pm. Some days the work crews experience delays or breakdowns and need to reschedule the work on the following working day.

Where should I park my car?

In the lead up to the resurfacing you should keep your car parked in your driveway so that crews can sweep the street and resurface the road.

If you have too many cars to fit on your driveway you should ensure your car is not on the road or footpath.

How soon can I drive over the new surface?

As soon as the traffic controllers open the road you can drive on the road. This is generally no longer than 15 minutes after the bitumen was sprayed on the road.

What if I have an allergy?

As a part of the reseal process we use petroleum based products such as bitumen, kerosene and diesel. If you are allergic to these products close the windows of your house and stay inside. If you are very allergic you may want to consider being away from your house while the work is undertaken.

Contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81 if you are concerned about an allergy. A member of the resurfacing project team will contact you.

How will this affect my pets?

On the day of the resurfacing works resident should take extra precautions to secure their pet. If your pet has an allergy you should keep them inside with the windows closed or consider keeping them away from the works. Contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81 if you are concerned about a pet allergy.

When the works are completed the road surface will have residual petroleum products on the surface. If your pet reacts badly to petroleum products they should stay off the road for several weeks until the products evaporate or wear away.

If your pet walks in bitumen it can be removed with baby oil or a citrus based solvent and then washed with warm soapy water.

What if I have an emergency and I need access to my house during the works?

If you have an emergency, please see one of our traffic controllers and speak to them about your concerns. They will be able to assist in an emergency.

What if it rains?

If rain is forecast we will not usually resurface your street on the advertised day as the new surface must be placed on a dry surface. We also ask that you don’t use sprinklers to water your verge before the resurfacing works as they may overspray onto the road surface.

What resurfacing works are done at night?

Different restrictions apply to the major road network where road maintenance activities can be undertaken 24 hours a day.

The decision to undertake works at night is usually to limit the effects on daytime traffic. Another reason for undertaking night works is to reduce the impact on the work crews in heatwave conditions.

Works at night near residential areas will generate noise and impact nearby residents. To minimise the impact of noise, smaller projects which only take a single night are preferred.

If night works are being undertaken within 200 metres of your house you will receive notification in your mailbox at least three days in advance.

After The Reseal

Why do I still have loose stones on my street?

Our contractor will start removing loose stones the day after your street has been resealed.

Over the next week the sweeper will return several times to remove loose stones and then again over winter as the colder weather frees up more loose stones.

Some residual loose stones are required in the first few days to ensure a good cover is achieved in the resurfacing process. Over time these will become embedded into the pavement surface or be removed by the street sweeping process.

Why is the new surface so rough?

The original road surface could be 20 years old or more, with stones on the road worn down over the years. Over the next 12 months the stones on the road will pack down under traffic to produce a smoother surface.

My car has been damaged driving over this new surface, what do I do?

In the first instance you should contact your insurance company and make a claim on your policy.

In most cases vehicles are damaged by a passing vehicle traveling at a speed above the posted speed limit, but in cases where the damage is done by a contractor, we will look at your claim.

This will involve assessing if you have a claim and then determining the value of a claim. The assessment of a claim will take at least two weeks.

To assist with the assessments we require the following details:

  • The location of the incident
  • The date and time that the incident occurred
  • Details about how the damage occurred
  • A written quote for repairs
  • Photos of the damage

Contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81 to report that your vehicle has been damaged by resurfacing works. A team member will contact you to assist with the process.

Why are there are black marks outside my driveway?

The bitumen process requires time to cure and harden. On hot days, within the first six months after the works, the bitumen can soften causing stones to be turned over exposing the bitumen. If you are concerned about this, place some sand on the exposed bitumen.

To avoid exposing the bitumen you should enter and exit your driveway using a gentle turn while moving at a slow speed.

The new surface is very noisy, why?

Road noise is generated by traffic travelling over a road surface. Traffic noise is a combination of engine noise and tyre interaction with the road. As the traffic speed increases, the traffic volume increases and the noise from a road will often increase.

When a road is resurfaced the noise generated by the traffic changes and becomes more noticeable. The removal of the loose stones following the resealing will reduce the noise generated. Over time the stones will reorient themselves and the road noise will decrease.

On the TCCS website there are noise management guidelines. This will provide a guidance on what is acceptable.

How will I know when the works are complete?

A road reseal is normally completed in one day. Sweeping will be undertaken over the following week and linemarkings reinstated in the following month.

I have bitumen on my car, how do I get it off?

Bitumen is a petroleum based product. Petroleum based solvents can damage your cars paint finish, so you are advised not to use those products on your car. Use citrus based products to dissolve the bitumen and wash this off with soap and warm water.

FAQs - Asphalt Works

What can delay works?

Asphalt and bitumen is manufactured off site and transported in tipper trucks. Sometimes the crew are required to wait for delivery vehicles to lay the asphalt. On smaller jobs there are fewer delivery vehicles and the time between loads of asphalt is significant.

Why can’t asphalt be used for more resurfacing on our roads?

Like many city’s around Australia, we utilise road resealing as it is a more cost effective alternative to asphalt which is normally reserved for heavily trafficked roads and critical locations like busy intersections. This allows a greater amount of the road network to be addressed each year.

Some asphalt surfaces look coarse and other asphalt has a tightly packed surface, is this poor quality work?

There are different types of asphalt mixes used in different locations across Canberra and they can look different. For example one type might be used in built up urban areas to reduce noise, compared with a more rural environment where noise is less of an issue. In general you should expect a consistent appearance across a particular work site.

Why are patches repaired with asphalt?

Asphalt is used for patching roads because the failed pavements can be removed and replaced with asphalt in a single day. This means minimal disturbance to motorists.

The alternative is to replace the road surface with compacted gravel which would be left exposed to traffic for several days before a bitumen surface can be applied to the patch. This method has the potential to be damaged by rain and may be left for extended periods without the bitumen surface.

In small areas, such as patches, it is more economical to lay asphalt as it also reduces the temporary traffic control costs.

Can asphalt be laid in the rain?

It is not advisable to lay asphalt in the rain as it may not properly adhere to the old surface. If work has commenced placing asphalt, it can continue provided there is no standing water (puddles) on the surface.

If there is rain or standing water the asphalt will not be satisfactorily compacted as it will cool prematurely, before compaction has been completed.

What is asphalt manufactured from?

Asphalt is a mix of sand, dust, aggregates and bitumen which is manufactured around 170 degrees Celsius. There is a specific mix of the component materials used in the manufacture of each type of asphalt. The materials are mixed together in a large mixer for a fixed time to produce a consistent product.

A number of reclaimed products from waste streams can be included into the asphalt when being manufactured. These include, reclaimed asphalt pavement, toner powder from printers, car tyres, glass and plastics such as toner cartridges.

Asphalt is manufactured locally in plants located around Hume and transported to site by delivery vehicles.

When can I drive on asphalt?

Asphalt needs to be compacted prior to traffic being allowed to travel over the new surface. The rolling process usually takes less than ten minutes before it is compacted to a level where it can be trafficked.

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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

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