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Storm’s road bill climbs

The bill for the Queen’s Birthday weekend storm has reached $26.5 million, the regional transport committee was told.

NZ Transport Agency regional relationships director Emma Speight said this would be 92 percent funded from the NZTA Land Transport Fund and 8 percent from the Provincial Growth Fund. It would take three years to complete the work.

But emergency repair crews will be relocated to other maintenance in the meantime until resource consents are approved.

The first tranche of global consents submitted cover 1400 sites. Consents for the remaining 350 sites will be lodged by February.

Graeme Thomson said it seemed like a lot of money for such a small geographical area. The storm was not widespread through the district.

District Council lifelines director David Wilson said the spend was spread across the whole district.

While the storm hit the Uawa area hard, there was also substantial damage in the western area. There was also some hangover from earlier cyclones.

Ms Speight said that the combined maintenance programme would have 38 kilometres or 20 percent of chip seal resurfacing or reconstruction treatment on State Highway 35.

There were more than 200 roading personnel and sub-contractors working on the network.

The feedback from forestry companies was that existing roadworks on local roads and highways were causing delays. Some trucking firms were missing a third load to the port.

Disruption would continue until December 18 as resealing crews treated 61 sites, continuing from January to April next year.

While work was disrupting people, it was a high-risk environment for staff. The agency appealed to drivers to take care when driving through work sites.

The aphalt project for Awapuni Road from Stanley Road to Grey Street, including water and stormwater upgrades, would require night work and short water shutdowns — and take four months to complete,’

Prioritising work to keep crews workingBill Burdett told the transport committee meeting that contractors on the Coast road were doing a very good job but he had two issues of concern —where responsibility sat for emergency work and the way potholes were worked through.

A number of people had been in his ear in terms of the area north of Te Puia.

He had been told a heap of work was going on but that was not his observation and he wondered how these jobs were prioritised.

Mr Wilson said there were a number of outstanding issues through the network, with $26 million of work in front of them.

The first priority was to make an area safe and open to traffic, picking off the sites that did not require a resource consent.

They were now at the stage where they did not have much work left that did not require a consent.

Staff were prioritising work to keep crews working.

While there were a number of issues throughout the network, it was a matter of making sure they had the contractors in place, the funding and the resource consents.

They had to priortise work to make sure they had the right staff in place at the right time.

He had just received notification that work would start on Gudgeon’s Hill.

Meredith Akuhata-Brown said speeds were restricted in the summer on a section of the coast road at camping areas.

There had been recent tragedies — could the restrictions be extended for the whole year?

Roads were a shared space but more work was needed to protect the most vulnerable — pedestrians and cyclists.

Ms Speight said the agency was encouraging regions to look at their whole network and say what was a safe speed and how the network could be made safe.

They were also looking at things like median barriers and side barriers, which were effective but expensive.

Riverside Road, which was 4WD access only as dips in the road became giant puddles. Gisborne Herald file picture