Downer wins Nelson-Tasman road maintenance contract
Downer New Zealand Ltd has won a new multimillion-dollar contract for road maintenance across a big chunk of the Nelson-Tasman region.
Tendered jointly by Nelson city and Tasman district councils, the contract covers urban and rural road maintenance, road marking and resurfacing work on the two councils' local roads across most of the region, except Golden Bay and Murchison. State highways are not included in the contract, which is due to take effect from July 1.
In Nelson city, Downer will maintain about 268km of roads and 309km of footpaths, cycleways and walkways in a contract worth $12.6m over three years.
Across Tasman district, Downer will maintain about 1100km of sealed and unsealed roads along with 235km of footpaths, cycleways and walkways under a contract worth about $16 million over three years.
TDC community relations manager Chris Choat said TDC originally estimated $18.5m for the same road maintenance work. The predicted saving of $2.5m gave the council "space and scope" to consider increasing some activities such as roadside mowing.
A few years ago, the council cut the number of mows a year from three or four to two, in order to trim the budget. It has not been an overwhelmingly popular move and many people have complained, saying they did not believe twice a year was enough.
Tasman mayor Richard Kempthorne said the new approach to contracting road maintenance was an example of successful regional collaboration.
"This is a fantastic outcome for ratepayers in both areas," Kempthorne said. "In Tasman, it allows us to consider using the money saved to fund improvements in some of the road maintenance areas that have been scaled down in recent years – for example, roadside mowing and resealing – as well as enabling us to invest more in work such as road strengthening and drainage improvements, which will help future-proof our road network."
Nelson mayor Rachel Reese called it "an excellent example of a joint contract approach providing benefits to all ratepayers in the region".
"Downer has developed an excellent understanding of our roading network and we are confident they will continue to maintain our roads and footpaths to a high standard," Reese said.
Downer general manager South Island transport services Scott Ford said the Downer team had been part of "an intensive refocus on what we can bring to the region".
"As locals, we can bring a real change to the way things were done in the past," Ford said. "I'm confident our local knowledge will deliver improved results for ratepayers. The Downer team has worked hard to reconnect north Canterbury over the past few months and being able to bring those lessons here is very exciting."