Melting asphalt on a recently resurfaced road in far North Australia melted around car tyres and seriously damaged dozens of vehicles, causing traffic chaos and leaving motorists outrageous.
The Malanda Millaa Millaa Road on the Atherton Tablelands, south of the Cairns in far north Queensland, melted on Tuesday, forcing the Department of Transport to close and undertake emergency repairs.
The state government offered compensation on Thursday, saying up to 60 motorists may be entitled due to damages to their vehicles.
Motorists complained that they were forced to abandon their vehicles after the tyres sank in the blacktop, with some even reporting damages to bumper bars and panels.
Photos shared on social media showed some tyres completely covered by black tar.
The incident has been blamed on a change in weather, rain and cold temperature followed by heatwave and damage to the road after it was re-pitched soon.
“I have never seen anything like it and when the reports started coming through yesterday, it was just incredible,’’ Joe Paronella, Tablelands mayor, told the Australian broadcaster ABC on Thursday.
Driver Bridget Daley said her tyres were covered in three inches of asphalt.
“It was like we were insects caught in a spider’s web and we were sinking,’’ she said.
The department said it is conducting a full investigation.
“The situation is completely unacceptable and I apologise on behalf of the department to all those people whose vehicles were damaged and travel plans disrupted by this extremely unusual event,’’ Sandra Burke, a transport department official, told reporters.