Pothole: Rain damaged roads. 
Pothole: Rain damaged roads. Photo: Anita Jones

I like walking. Not the rugged, outdoors ''wind in what little is left of my hair'' variety. I favour the tamer urban challenges of Sydney.

I tramp the central business district and inner suburbs. I trek the beachside coastal regions. Alas, many of the surfaces on which I tread have become sadly disfigured.

I acknowledge the need for underground repair work requiring the pavement to be removed for access to those mysterious subterranean workings that we all take for granted. It's the aftermath that bugs me.

Sometimes it doesn't really matter. A bitumen footpath surface that has been sawn, lifted, excavated, repaired, filled, compacted and finally finished with bitumen is fine. Dig up bitumen, patch with bitumen.
Bitumen isn't the only material with which to seal the tops of filled trenches, yet you could easily be convinced that the trench/construction industry believes it is.

A newly paved pedestrian crossing not far from where I live had been in existence for barely a month before the public utility moles trenched their way along the road, neatly replacing one of the white stripes with black bitumen.

A beautiful natural flagstone paving stretch of Elizabeth Street has the black disfigurement. Lift the flagstones and replace them? Nah! Just put the saw through 'em and apply the black dearth of imagination - bitumen.
Brick paved path? A jigsaw puzzle with pieces all the same shape and colour? Too challenging. The black plague strikes once more.

Even when pebble-dashed concrete is removed and replaced with new concrete, it's never the same finish. How hard is it to organise a bucketful of pebbles? How much time would it take? Why does a short-term financial bottom line always trump a job well executed?

Don't get me started on the interminable road repair life cycle - crack in road surface; small pothole; large ragged pothole; large pothole surrounded by yellow-painted highlighting; large rectangular pothole filled with brown road base; large brown rectangular depression; black raised bitumen patch and, inevitably, a black rectangular depression.

Surely invisible mending is not a totally lost art.

Graham Link