IF YOU'VE ever wondered how long it might take to drive all 1600 kilometres of Tamworth Regional Council's (TRC) sealed roads at 40 klicks an hour; the answer is about four weeks.
If you're now asking why anyone would do that, the answer is to find out the true condition of the region's roads to budget and plan for the future.
The vehicle itself with all its high-tech surveillance equipment costs in the order of $1 million, TRC engineering services manager Graeme McKenzie said.
"Roads are probably the council's biggest asset and this provides us with data to monitor the condition of the roads and helps us plan our work going forward to undertake remedial action at the right time to get the best spend for council," he said.
"It helps us identify the roads that are either holding together better or failing quicker than we would like, which allows us to prioritise which works need to be undertaken first and the costs associated with that.
"All of our sealed roads will have the vehicle go over it."
The council spends about $10 million each year on its sealed roads, and a total of $42 million on all roads and associated infrastructure.
The surveillance van uses cameras and high-tech lasers to check the status of the road.
It won't travel on state roads or highways, just the ones the council is responsible for.
It's crucial to get the right information so that the council can plan for its future spend, Mr McKenzie said.
"We believe that through this process we will be able to save a lot of money and put money into the important items that need to be done now," he said.
The road condition assessment is done in Tamworth once every five years.
It will take four weeks to complete and the truck does not record any personal data or images of the public.