Forget smooth, perfect roads, Christchurch told

GLENN CONWAY
Last updated 05:00 08/02/2014
Earthquake damage on roads
ROCKY ROAD: Earthquake-damaged roads will be repaired but not replaced.

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Christchurch residents should not expect "perfect" roads as part of the city's $2.9 billion infrastructure rebuild, officials say.

Rebuild leaders say most earthquake-damaged roads will only be partly fixed or patched instead of getting total repairs - a move expected to save hundreds of millions of dollars.

The cost of maintaining those roads will likely be left to ratepayers, with the Government only stumping up for the initial repair as part of the $2.9b Cost Sharing Agreement it signed with the Christchurch City Council.

The Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (Scirt) is carrying out road repairs.

Council transport and greenspace unit manager John Mackie said it understood there were expectations of "perfect" roads from the rebuild "but that'll be some time in the future".

"The city will not look pretty when Scirt's done," he said.

The Press reported this week that KordaMentha had raised concerns about the council's ability to pay for infrastructure repairs as part of the Cost Sharing Agreement.

Officials say the rebuilding of roads will be done to pre-February earthquake levels or the standard roads were in before the September 2010 earthquake.

"This means most roads throughout the city will be partially repaired or patched rather than fully reconstructed," a Scirt spokesman said.

Mackie said any roads not surfaced after the project ended in 2016 would go into the council's normal maintenance schedule.

"They may not be fixed under this schedule for years."

The city's horizontal infrastructure rebuild manager, Will Doughty, said the end result "won't be a 100 per cent smooth road surface but the cost of fully resurfacing every road where work is under way is estimated to add hundreds of millions of dollars to the rebuild".

Over time, he said all the roads would be resurfaced as part of the council's ongoing maintenance programmes.

"This means most roads throughout the city will be partially repaired or patched rather than fully reconstructed," he said.

The Scirt spokesman said some roads had been resurfaced in "less than ideal" weather conditions due to its large work volumes.

"While we would prefer all pavement finishes to be perfect, we are carrying out this rebuild work as fast as possible throughout the city and constantly aiming to provide value for money. Unfortunately, there will be times when temporary and permanent road repairs need maintenance following construction."

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Mackie said the priority was to fix services and gets roads useable again, "not return them to ‘as new'."

"If we [the council] were to go behind Scirt and do a full road restoration on every road, it would cost hundreds of millions more than what we have."

- The Press

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