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Capacitated arc routing problem (CARP) has attracted much attention during the last few years due to its wide applications in real life. Since CARP is NP-hard and exact methods are only applicable for small instances, heuristics and metaheuristic methods are widely adopted when solving CARP. This paper demonstrates one major disadvantage encountered by traditional search algorithms and proposes a novel operator named global repair operator (GRO) to address it. We further embed GRO in a recently proposed tabu search algorithm (TSA) and apply the resultant repair-based tabu search (RTS) algorithm to five well-known benchmark test sets. Empirical results suggest that RTS not only outperforms TSA in terms of quality of solutions but also converges to the solutions faster. Moreover, RTS is also competitive with a number of state-of-the-art approaches for CARP. The efficacy of GRO is thereby justified. More importantly, since GRO is not specifically designed for the referred TSA, it might be a potential tool for improving any existing method that adopts the same solution representation.