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Flood clean-up costly

AL WILLIAMS
Last updated 05:00 24/07/2013
Flood damage
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SEEN BETTER DAYS: A picture of the damage at Martin's Crossing. Waimate faces a hefty clean-up bill after last month's downpours.

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Waimate faces another clean-up bill estimated at $267,000 after bridges, fords and roads in the district were extensively damaged in torrential downpours last month.

Bradshaws Bridge over the Lower Waihao River was completely washed out.

It adds to the $268,000 cost of repair work to bridges and roads after extensive flooding in August last year.

The New Zealand Transport Agency had approved emergency reinstatement funding of $218,000 while the balance of repairs was funded from maintenance budgets, costing Waimate $80,000 for the 2012 floods.

Waimate roading manager Rob Moffat said the agency would likely pick up 57 per cent of the bill for last month's event.

The council would further consider a low-cost alternative for Bradshaws Bridge with an estimated $5000 to complete a preliminary report.

The bridge has been plagued by controversy in recent years. It collapsed during flooding in 2010 and the council agreed in May to put aside $150,000 for repairs after a $2 million replacement was ruled out.

Residents had voted in favour of seeking a step-by-step time frame from the council and immediate consultation but an apparent lack of response to a survey sent to residents had slowed the resolution process, council chief executive Tony Alden said at the time.

While a report had been completed on the bridge and options included bringing it up to pass a 100-year flood design, building a shorter, submergible bridge, or maintaining the existing structure for light traffic, Waimate staff had been reluctant to say what the next step would be. Mr Moffat said the council had since resolved to seek further low-cost alternatives.

An investigation would be under way in two to three weeks, he said. "We will investigate options like a ford; it's about going further afield to see if anything else will work. It's a quick revisit and not an instant fix."

Mayor John Coles said the council would look at an alternative in giving the local community the ability to cross in low flows.

"I don't think there is an appetite to spend a large sum of money fixing a bridge."

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- The Timaru Herald

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