Danger on the road

The Nuggets Rd resident Willy Simpson beside one of the larger potholes on the road.
The Nuggets Rd resident Willy Simpson beside one of the larger potholes on the road.

"Dangerous" is the word residents living on The Nuggets Rd use to describe its driving conditions, with at least four amazed there has not been a head-on collision - yet.

The gravel road runs south from Kaka Point to Nugget Point, a busy tourist spot, but residents Willy and Pauline Simpson, along with two neighbours, said the hundreds of ruts and potholes were causing vehicles to lose control, swerve suddenly and drive on the wrong side.

By their count, six cars were forced off the road in the past three weeks.

When the Clutha Leader visited, three vehicles, including a campervan, were driving on the wrong side.

The residents said while a grader

came through every few months and swept the gravel back on to the road, that did not fix the holes and often just disguised them from unsuspecting drivers.

All four agreed traffic was increasing, and they estimated thousands of motorists, mostly tourists, used the road each month.

The road has a 100kmh speed limit and no signs warning drivers to slow down, Mr Simpson said.

He knows it would be expensive to seal, but wants the potholes fixed and maintained, signs posted and a lower speed limit considered.

"If you Google Nugget Point and the promotion that goes with that - and then you've got this road."

The Simpsons contacted the Clutha District Council last year and received a letter saying it stopped sealing many roads in 2009 when it was no longer financially feasible.

This week, council spokesman Jamie Shaw said there had been several requests to seal The Nuggets Road, and it was estimated to cost about $2.1 million to do the full 6.8km.

Under the current rules it did not qualify for any funding assistance from the NZ Transport Agency, although it had been identified as a potential future project if its rating within the NZTA's rules changed, he said.

The next chance to review that would be through the 2015/18 Land Transport Programme.

Council was considering a warning sign advising drivers of the unsealed, winding and undulating nature of the road, he said.

The council also intended to revisit the district's speed limits once the NZTA finished its national review of how limits were set. Residents with road maintenance problems such as potholes, were advised to lodge a service request with the council.

Clutha Leader