Closure of Puketoi Rd opposed by councillor

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 05/02/2013

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A proposed Tararua road closure has left one councillor concerned the district council is scrimping on roading costs.

Nearly 10 kilometres of formed roading is to be taken off the map after the Tararua District Council confirmed in a meeting last week that it wanted to close Puketoi Rd, 50 kilometres east of Pahiatua.

However, councillor Warren Davidson said he was "very opposed" to the closure and asked the council if it was simply writing off the road to save costs.

"Our roading network is a pretty significant part of the economy... and if you go trimming bits off the end you end up reducing the value of the rest of it."

Puketoi Rd is a link road connecting Pori Rd to Haunui Rd, and its closure would require motorists to travel 60km through Pongaroa to reach the other side.

But the council's roading portfolio councillor Bill Keltie said the road had a low vehicle count, had slump damage and, despite being a through road, wouldn't be able to cope with heavy vehicles.

"We've got to be pragmatic about this and put our limited resources into roads that are worthwhile... and keep them up to a good standard.

"It's a fact that roads are made redundant over time and put into disuse, and this is one."

The cost of repairing the road was pegged between $40,000 and $50,000, he said.

The road has two dwellings, is home to a rural airstrip, is bordered by Department of Conservation land, as well as a Landcorp property, and winds through hilly countryside.

"To me, that road is only used as a laneway where I'm told only one car a day uses it, if that, and it's quite a bit of road," Cr Keltie said.

"Council shouldn't spend money on pieces like that."

Mayor Roly Ellis said he remembered the road being used for a rally years ago, but described it as a "farm track used only by farm staff".

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- Manawatu Standard

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