TWO storms that battered the Gisborne region in March and April blew more than the entire year’s Gisborne District Council flood damage budget.
Land transport manager Dave Hadfield says the cost for the whole region from the heavy rain events was $2.25 million.
The annual budget for flood damage is $2 million.
Mr Hadfield said $1.33 million of that fund had already been spent and that left just under $700,000 in the flood damage account until June 30.
As a result, many roads like Tiniroto, which suffered a major slump just before Easter, will be left as one lane until summer, when moisture conditions become more favourable.
The bulk of the region’s road repairs — $1.58 million – will be earmarked for next year’s budget.
The $700,000 balance of repairs will soak up the remainder of this year’s fund, with work to be completed by the end of next month.
Mr Hadfield said this would be limited to clearing drainage channels and culverts, and removing debris from bridges.
The council has put in a claim to the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to ask for 67 percent funding of the costs associated with flood damage repairs.
Acting state highway manager Gordon Hart said when it came to emergency work, NZTA did pay a significant share — which was on average around 50 percent — as well as 100 percent coverage of the work on the national highways.
The repair of Customhouse Street by the police station is a project run by the NZTA because it is part of State Highway 35.
Mr Hart said the final figure for repair work at the slips around Devil’s Elbow on State Highway 2, between Gisborne and Napier, had come in at around $200,000.
The recent road closures that isolated Gisborne over the past couple of months, like the month-long closure of the Waioeka Gorge, have prompted NZTA to undertake a route security report.
Mr Hart said the report was in its early stages and would focus on improving road security for this region.
The study would be completed by September.
“We are working very closely with the council on the study.
“Some of the vulnerabilities that we are dealing with reside in other regions but the key is that the study will be owned by the East Coast.
“We want to be firmly holding the steering wheel on this one because it is Gisborne that is primarily affected by the closures.”
The study would look at the key routes in and out of the district and the impacts of the closure of those routes, including the costs to get them back up and running.
The next step of the study would look at ways to reduce the impact of further closures on the state highway network.
“This might mean more preparation, might be physical repairs, might be work on alternative routes . . . we don’t know until we’ve gone through this exercise.”
Mr Hart said the route south was very resilient and statistics showed that in the past 10 years there had been only two closures that lasted more than 48 hours.
• Around Gisborne city, other roadworks are nearing completion.
The Ormond Road repairs by the BP station are finished except for the road marking, which will be completed soon, weather permitting.
Raikaiatane Road and Kaiti Beach Road have also had road defects repaired over the last couple of weeks.