Bent, pulled over, spray painted and drawn onANNA WILLIAMS
Marlborough ratepayers have paid $13,000 this year to replace or repair road signs that have been stolen or vandalised, say the Marlborough District Council.
Marlborough Roads general manager Frank Porter said damage and theft of temporary road signs was a constant problem.
"It's a weekly occurrence. It seems to happen every weekend in Blenheim."
Road signs were bent, pulled over, spray painted, drawn on or even shot at.
This year $7000 of signs have been stolen or damaged from Havelock to Rai and $3000 between Hawkesbury to Wairau Valley. Signs with irreparable damage cost a further $3000.
Marlborough Roads responds as soon as it is aware of a problem, but crews usually dealt with repairing or fixing signs every Monday, Mr Porter said.
"We replace them straight away if it presents a safety issue, but it is an ongoing part of our week, which means crews can't spend some of our time and money in the right place," he said.
The damage also happened on rural roads, with roadside marker pegs being knocked over or damaged, which then had to be replaced.
"It's a serious safety issue," Mr Porter said. "They're out there to make our roads safe and as soon as they're damaged it detracts from the safety of our road network."
Road cones were also a problem. About 100 cones used around Blenheim were taken or damaged beyond repair a year, costing up to $4000.
Marlborough Roads staff regularly retrieved cones from rivers and even from trees.
Constable Michelle Stagg, of Blenheim, said people caught stealing or damaging road signs or cones faced charges of theft or wilful damage.
- The Marlborough Express