Waitaki council considers coastal road

DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Last updated 11:35 23/07/2014
kakanui slip
BROKEN: Damage to sewer and water pipes on a section of Beach Rd, north of Kakanui.

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While coastal erosion is an issue in the Waitaki district, the Waitaki District Council is continuing to work towards solutions to tackle the problem.

Councillors are scheduled to be presented with a strategy at today's council meeting that aims to keep open a coastal road route south of Oamaru to Waianakarua.

In May, a section of Beach Rd north of the township of Kakanui, south of Oamaru, slipped into the sea as a result of erosion, caused by a combination of sea erosion and persistent heavy rain.

Water and sewerage pipes were damaged in the slip, which saw the road closed for a short period before one-lane vehicle access was restored.

Several months before the slip a community group, chaired by Kakanui resident Peter Amyes, was set up by council to provide suggestions and recommendations with regard to the road's future.

"A specially formed community group was established to look at coastal roads and provide feedback to council," Waitaki District Council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen says.

He says the group has since made recommendations, including that the coastal route remain a continuous two-lane sealed road to ensure rural connectivity and that funds are set aside for the installation of rock fill to shore up vulnerable areas.

At the time the group was established, the Draft Coastal Roads Strategy 2014 was set aside so that full consideration could be given to the group's recommendations.

Council also included a sum of $50,000 per annum to put towards coastal protection and repairs.

Jorgensen says the strategy does include financial limits and that a solution will not come at "any cost".

"Council acknowledges that coastal erosion is not unique to the Waitaki district; it's a nationwide reality and one that must be addressed.

"By working with the community and the New Zealand Transport Agency we are confident that a sustainable solution is within reach," Jorgensen says.

"There is clearly a desire within the community to ensure the longevity of coastal roads. A fully operational roading network has significant economic and social benefits.

"Upgrading the coastal route will also mean we have an alternative to State Highway 1, should the need arise, and the need for heavy vehicles to negotiate the intersection from Waianakarua Rd onto State Highway 1 will be kept to a minimum, thus improving general safety to all road users."

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- The Timaru Herald

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