Temuka crossing work for next year

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 19/06/2014

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KiwiRail has acknowledged it could have informed officials and Temuka residents earlier after deciding to postpone railway repair work.

Initially, KiwiRail told the Timaru District Council the required repairs, where Ewen Rd becomes Richard Pearse Drive, would be done within the next three years.

However, it has since changed those plans, agreeing to fully upgrade the crossing early next year.

The issue was raised by Timaru district councillor for the Temuka Ward Pat Mulvey last week, after Rangitata MP Jo Goodhew had already had an assurance from KiwiRail that the work would be done in this financial year.

"As I have been working with KiwiRail since 2012 to address concerns about the Ewen Rd crossing, I am pleased to have a publicly announced date for further improvements," Goodhew said.

"I am, however, disappointed that the earlier assurance I had that the work would be carried out in this financial [year] has not come about."

KiwiRail senior communications advisor Jenni Austin said the company agreed it could have handled plans to postpone the upgrade differently.

"KiwiRail acknowledges that it did not provide timely advice to officials, or the wider Temuka community, of its decision to postpone the upgrade of the level crossing for 12 months and its reasoning for this decision," Austin said.

However, other projects where safety was an issue took precedence and subsequently work to the Temuka railway crossing was postponed until early 2015, she said.

Goodhew said the issue of dust created by KiwiRail's Hally Tce facility had also been addressed by the company, but the problem was still affecting some neighbouring houses.

However, repeated requests for KiwiRail to address the issue had had some pleasing results she said.

KiwiRail contacted homeowners most affected by the dust, offering to wash their houses.

"This follows our work to pave the container transfer site in Halley Tce," Austin said.

"A local contractor has been engaged to carry out this work and he reports that seven houses have been washed."

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- The Timaru Herald

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