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GDC flags pull-back on roading

TAIRAWHITI Roads general manager Dave Hadfield has told the regional transport committee that work on roads will have to be prioritised to essential maintenance for the next four months.

Mr Hadfield said the council would be restricted until July, when the new financial year begins.

Work will be prioritised to essential maintenance activities only ro stay within the council’s budgets. Other work under council control will be delayed.

Over the next four months, the focus on local roads will be on keeping within budget, with tight control on funds.

Work will be focused around optimising activities based on cost.

Rather than fixing issues fast, work will be clustered or grouped so it is carried out efficiently, by reducing costs such as establishment on site.

The cost of establishing maintenance equipment for isolated repairs would require funding that is not available.

Vegetation becoming more obvious and more pavement faults, resulting in a less comfortable ride, might be the result.

“I call it a less desirable view outside the window when you are driving,” Mr Hadfield said.

There would always be exceptions where urgent expenditure was required, for instance with the recent rain event that caused damaged to a bridge on Moanui Road.

Downers reopened the bridge so residents could have access to the station and DoC reserve.

The council expects to get the result of funding applications it has made in the next few weeks.

Mr Hadfield told the regional transport committee road construction work on State Highways 35 and 2 had increased and road users would see various contractors on the network. He urged patience around the multiple work sites.

SH2 sites unsealedSome sites along SH2 had not being sealed due to the wet weather and contractors would wait until the pavement dried out, he said.

Restoring the one-way section on SH35 by Kopuaroa Hill was also under way.

The regional transport plan approved for consultation this week would see $35.9 million spent on local roads in the 2017/18 year, $17.6 million on operating expenditure and $18.3 million on capital expenditure.

A further $20 million is earmarked in the plan for state highways, $10.2 million on operating expenditure and $9.8 on capital expenditure. That brings the total to be spent on roads in the plan to $55.9 million.

In the following year that would rise to $59 million, $38.7 on local roads and $20.3 on state highways. By comparison this year’s annual plan had the council spending $26.4 million on roads.

Earlier this month Tairawhiti Roads general manager Dave Hadfield said applications had been lodged with the New Zealand Transport Agency for $10.6 million to fund emergency repair work on the district roads.

The largest application of $9.1 million seeks a 100 per cent subsidy., $3.6 million of which would be spent on roads leading to forests around the region.

The council intends to lodge a third application asks thw agency to accelerate the subsidy rate from the present 64 percent to 67 percent and to have that start in July.

¦ The next stage of the resealing of Gladstone Road was due to start early next month, slightly later than originally intended.

This was promised to start in February but was delayed to March 5 due to resourcing and potential changes in the scope of the project.

The original scope was from Roebuck Road to Derby Street but a final decision on the section between Disraeli to Roebuck was made yesterday.

The price for the project is $900,000.

¦ Tairawhiti Roads was very close to awarding a contract for stage two of the Wainui cycleway, Mr Hadfield said.

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