Upkeep the priority for SC roading

02:44, Jul 02 2014

Maintenance of existing roads is the priority for South Canterbury's district councils, rather than new roading projects.

South Canterbury missed out on funding from National's new $212 million road transport package, but that has not upset the Timaru, Waimate and Mackenzie district councils.

Mackenzie had no upcoming roading projects, but needed more money for re-sealing roads, asset manager Bernie Haar said.

"Our biggest concern is the backlog of maintenance issues. I would rather see the money spread around the maintenance."

The biggest problem was Braemar Rd, a shingle road used mainly by logging trucks.

Haar also said there were 12 to 14 bridges in the Mackenzie district that would need replacing over the next eight years.


The council was in the process of bidding to the New Zealand Transport Agency, too, but Haar said there was not a lot of funding out there.

"There is less government funding for maintenance. The provincial areas have been hit pretty hard."

Timaru's land transport manager, Andrew Dixon, said the Government had made cutbacks in maintenance, which made it a struggle for councils.

Neither the Mackenzie nor the Timaru district councils had had an increase in funding over the past six years.

"We're all in the same boat," Dixon said.

He said the TDC had been good at funding roads, being one of the few councils nationwide which went over and above what the NZTA allocated.

"We want a high level of service for ratepayers."

Project-wise the TDC did not have much more planned for the next three years, because it had already done so much in the previous three, Dixon said, although two future projects of regional significance were the port southern access road, scheduled for 2018, and widening the Factory Rd bridge to two lanes.

The Waimate District Council is looking at work on two of the area's bridges in its three-year programme.

Although there was no timeframe at present, roading manager Rob Moffat said it hoped to have one completed in the three years and one the year after.

He said the council hoped to get funding for the two bridges, as well as more funding for maintenance.

The council's focus was keeping the roads it has up to standard and it is currently working on a submission for funding, Moffat said.

The Timaru Herald