Road seal failure concerns

Beautiful road, if only they'd used the right seal

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 15:47 05/12/2013
Richard Knight

Slowed speed: Riverlands resident Richard Knight with a speed restriction sign beside the upgraded Butter Factory Corner where the chip seal is not coping with the traffic

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The seal on the road at Butter Factory Corner on State Highway 1, south of Blenheim, appears to be failing just weeks after the new road was opened.

Nearby resident Richard Knight said the chip seal was "bleeding out" with the tar coming up through the chip and the stones coming off the road surface.

The chip seal was not strong enough to cope with the weight of the traffic using the road, especially the big trucks, as they turned the corner and it was melting under the pressure, he said.

"We haven't even had one of those 30 degree days."

It should have been asphalt, as was used for a 20 metre strip further down SH1, Mr Knight said.

The temporary speed restriction signs had been put outside his house while the upgrade work was done.

Those signs came down and the 70kmh signs went up, but Mr Knight said that only lasted five hours before the 50kmh speed restriction signs were back up again.

Workers had poured several loads of chip over the area where the most bleed was happening, he said, but it wasn't having any effect.

"It's a shame. It's a beautiful road, if only they had used the right seal."

Mr Knight said residents were pleased with the work on the road. It looked good and had reduced the noise from trucks' brakes.

"It just seems a shame about that seal . . . a $1 million road that needs a $20,000 bit of seal there."

Marlborough Roads highway manager Frank Porter was on leave and staff referred comment to the New Zealand Transport Agency head office in Wellington.

There was no response yesterday.

Last month, Marlborough Roads said the road markings had been painted on the upgraded road, making it look almost finished to the naked eye.

Mr Porter said there was still ancillary work to do over the next couple of weeks before it was finished, but to get the bulk of the job done in such good time was a credit to the contractors, he said.

"Having the project completed early will make people's journeys safer earlier than we had expected, which is a real bonus. It's great to know that we'll have a brand new intersection for the busy summer season that will protect locals and holidaymakers when they're on the road."

The notorious corner was remodelled to reduce the risk of crashes and allow more room for the range of manoeuvres required at the busy junction.

The new intersection between State Highway 1 and Alabama Rd provides a left hand slip lane, a right hand turning bay, and 25 metres queuing distance for drivers waiting on the highway to cross the railway line at Alabama Rd. The sweeping curve on SH1 has also been straightened to make it fit in better with the overall road, and less of a surprise for motorists. 

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- The Marlborough Express

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