What does this sign mean? What does this sign mean?

  • A. The road ahead may have loose stones - drive slowly

  • B. The road ahead may puncture your tyre

  • C. There's a median strip of vegetation that may hit your windscreen

  •  
    The correct answer is A
     
    This is a temporary warning sign usually erected by road workers to indicate there's gravel on the road.
     
 
 
 

Loose surface sign

The sign could be used in a number of circumstances when workers are repairing the road:

Resurfacing

This is where the old surface of the road is removed, sometimes right down to the base layer, and a new surface is applied. Once the old surface is removed, the road will be rough and will have stones and other debris.

When the new surface is applied, it could be asphalt, or it could be chip-seal. Asphalt is smoother, has less road noise and is more durable against braking vehicles, but has reduced skid resistance in the wet. Chip-seal is cheaper to apply and has more grip when it's new because it's coarser.

When chip-seal is laid there is a surplus of loose stones and stones that get dislodged. These collect in ridges as vehicles drive over the new surface. Road sweepers periodically attend and brush away the stones, and general vehicle traffic disperses other stones. The stone ridges are dangerous for motorbikes, and for four-wheeled vehicles if they accumulate on corners.

Repairs

Potholes and other cracks in the road surface have to be fixed and this can be done by either directly filling the pothole, or digging up part of the road. 

Services maintenance

As there are buried cables and pipes underneath roads, sometimes they need to be dug up to be replaced or maintained. This can create areas where there are loose stones on the road.

Landslips

Landslips across the road can leave loose stones as the slip is removed. Smaller slips can create smaller piles of stones which get spread along the road and are difficult and time-consuming to clear up manually. Machinery used to clear the slips can damage the road surface.

Grading

Grading is where an unsealed road's surface is recreated by scraping it flat again.

To see all road works signs and descriptions of the types of road maintenance needed, click here.