The number of logging trucks using Port Underwood Rd is at an "acceptable level" despite residents' safety concerns, a Marlborough District Council manager says.
Forest manager Tasman Forestry, which controls the log extraction for Rayonier and Underwood Farms, has told the council that 15 loads, or 30 truck trips, had been made on the road between Port Underwood and Picton on May 17 - well above the month's average of 9.5 loads per day.
The sight of the trucks prompted residents to contact the Express about the risk of road damage and the danger the trucks posed to other road users.
Rayonier has an agreement with the council to barge out all its export logs and use trucks to transport to domestic mills. Underwood Farms can cart all their logs out by road.
A concerned resident who lives on Port Underwood Rd said the trucks were a risk to the quality of the road and the safety of other motorists.
"It's a very thin, winding piece of road – it used to be a farm track and it is not designed for it.
"The forestry companies agreed with council to only use it for domestic logging, taking it to the mills, but there's more and more of them."
Transfund, now the NZ Transport Agency, agreed to subsidise the barges and provided $392,000 in funding in 2004 after about 100 truck trips created a daily hazard on the road.
Marlborough District Council assets and services manager Mark Wheeler said a growing number of logging trucks were using the road, but this would drop in July as Underwood Farms finished its harvesting contract in Port Underwood.
"There's a little more than normal but the numbers are acceptable," he said.
"They're still barging a lot more than they are trucking out.
"The domestic market of Rayonier only makes up 20 per cent of production."
Rayonier forestry managers' logging schedules shown to the council showed they moved an average of 17 loads by barge to every three sent by truck, Mr Wheeler said.
"There has to be a balance between safety and economic production, we can not just ban all the trucks.
"The council's agreement with the companies was set up in the hope the industry will co-operate and use of the roads will be mutually beneficial."
Rayonier's logging contract is scheduled to finish at the end of the year.
- The Marlborough Express