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Repair of roads dependent on weather

Thursday 14 July, 2022

Residents in some rural areas are upset about the state of their roads and until the weather improves repairs will have to be delayed.

Director Lifelines Dave Wilson says “We’re asking residents in rural areas waiting for road repairs to be patient. Work will be carried out when the weather improves.”

“While our district supports a large agriculture economy the majority of our local roading network traverses unstable and highly erodible terrain and is prone to failure during high rainfall and major storm events” he says.

“Over the last eight months the district has had four major weather events causing $28M of damage to the roading network. Forty roads require major engineering repairs, and there are dropout repairs and retaining walls to be built.”

Dave Wilson says “Council’s focus has been to reopen roads to residents who were cut off and to allow access for heavy freight to support our rural communities.”

“While the majority of our network is now accessible it has come at a financial cost of $3.67M.”

“To manage the recovery effort from the March 2022 weather event and the $15.9M repairs from the June 2020 event, some maintenance activities were not carried out resulting in an increase in complaints from the community.”

“We acknowledge that information about restoring access to disconnected families and reduced maintenance to other parts of the network should have been communicated much earlier to the community” says Mr Wilson “but we are now in a better place to do this”.

From the start of the new financial year this month, new maintenance contractors have started urgent repairs on the network focusing on drainage works and pothole repairs. Major works like heavy metalling and resurfacing is not programmed until September/October 2022 when weather conditions are more favourable.

“To improve communications our contractors have now provided their annual grading cycles which we will be putting on our website” he says. “Eventually our heavy metalling, chip seal resurfacing and vegetation programmes will also follow, this will better inform our community when the repairs will be programmed.”

“To residents who have lodged a request for service and not been contacted we’re committed to contact you by phone or email. If the answer you receive is not favourable then I apologise in advance.”

For the roads impacted by the March 2022, these will be made safe with traffic cones and barriers but no construction works can take place until a decision on Council’s emergency works application to Waka Kotahi is known in October 2022.