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Roads require $365m over 10 years

A draft local roads programme has indicated that local roads will require a $365 million investment over the next 10 years.

Asset planning manager Susan Rebano-Edwards presented the programme to the regional transport committee, which approved it.

The draft programme also found that works for 2018 to 2021 will require an investment of $21 million, $11.6 million in subsidised activities and $9.6 million in non-subsidised works.

The local share of the 10-year investment (2018 to 2028) in the regional land transport programme is governed by the Government's funding assistance rate.

The committee was told a firm bid for approval had to be made to the New Zealand Transport Agency by the next day.

After a response from the agency, a final bid would have to be submitted by December.

Four investment options were included in the regional land transport programme.

The preferred option would see proposed increases staggered in alternate years to smooth the impact on the council’s budget.

The fact that the draft plan included $300,000 for improvements to three East Coast wharves — Tolaga Bay, Tokomaru Bay and Hicks Bay — was welcomed by several, including Bill Burdett who said it should have happened 10 years ago.

The importance of maintenance was stressed by committee members, with Malcolm MacLean saying he was disturbed by the number of potholes on the main road north.

Later in the meeting the committee was told in a report from the special transport advisory group that there was a backlog of $8 million for resilience improvement works, predominantly on the northern road network, that was yet to be funded.

Senior transport adviser John Kape told the committee that emergency works funding for 2015 to 2018 was $2 million.

However, in the past seven years an average of $3 million had been spent on emergency works.

The report said the region’s drivers were risk-takers in both driving and maintenance of their vehicles.

This contributed to a higher-than-normal regional accident rate of 5 percent.

Regionally, alcohol or drugs accounted for over half (53 percent) of serious trauma accidents and speed for over a third (35 percent).

Both are above the national average.

In 2015, the number of fatalities or serious injuries where drugs was a factor was approximately 19 per 100,000, which was consistently higher than the national average of 11.

The number of fatalities or serious injuries due to speed was 30 per 100,000, which again was significantly higher than the national average of 14.

Gisborne’s brittle and highly- erodible soils and frequent heavy rainfall events resulted in road closures and ongoing high maintenance and repair costs.

During 2010 to 2014, the average number of closures a year to SH35 was 3.25, with an average length of closure of 11 hours — 27 percent higher than the national average.

On SH 2 to the west, the average number of closures per year was 24.25 with an average length of five hours and 23 minutes.

In 2015/16 there were 40 road closures due to surface flooding, drops and slips, of which 75 percent were in the northern network, some on forestry routes.

A particularly wet winter in 2017 resulted in more closures, including extended ones, and repeated repairs to sections of State Highway 2 through the Waioeka Gorge.

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