Frustation mounts over repairs

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Gold-plated roads . . . Ron Thornley of Pukerau is concerned about money being wasted on failed repairs at Landslip Valley Rd.

Seeing the same road being fixed year after year has Ron Thornley, of Pukerau, fed up.

Landslip Valley Rd had just been repaired a few weeks ago and parts of it were already in need of new patchwork, he said.

“The amount of failure rates . . . second goes and third goes and fourth goes at some road repairs.

“How come repairs are failing time and time again?”

It seemed as if nobody was being held accountable, he said.

“It’s not the contractor’s fault because he’s just told what to do.”

Mr Thornley believed the contractors were being given bad specifications and materials.

Each time the repairs failed, they were simply paid to do them again, he said.

Having worked as a contractor himself since 1968, Mr Thornley’s philosophy was to “do it once and do it properly”.

It might cost more initially, but maintenance costs were much lower over time, he said.

He hated to think how much money Gore District Council had spent on road maintenance.

“We should have gold-plated roads.

“The money comes in here, but it’s wasted. Completely wasted.

“I hear there’s lots of people complaining about the waste of money in road repairs,” he said.

Roading asset manager Peter Standring said he had talked to some residents about Landslip Valley Rd, which was costing about $339,000 to repair before it was resealed.

As with all their road repairs, this cost was split between the council which paid 41% and Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency which paid 59%.

Other repairs had been carried out on the road in previous years, but “not necessarily in the area we are working now and not to the same extent,” he said.

“It’s not called Landslip Valley Rd for no reason.

“We’re doing about 21km of road around the network this season .. this has been the most difficult one to deal with.

“The extent of pavement repairs needed for Landslip Valley Rd is considerably more than what would usually be carried out on a site this size due to the weak ground conditions.”

Despite the road’s “challenging geology” 85% of the repairs had been successful.

The failure of some patches was unforeseen and did come as a disappointment, but this was not uncommon for New Zealand roads, he said.

“The method of repair is based on the contractor’s assessment of the faults identified.

“You make the best call you can to get something done and done well, but if it fails you just need to go back and address that,” he said.

“Our contractor will be applying a more robust and more expensive treatment on these sites in the coming weeks.”

This involved digging deeper and using more material with different compaction and climate to the previous treatment, he said.

“The additional cost to the council is about $10,000.

“We’re more confident that it’s going to fix the ground conditions that we’ve struck in those areas.

Had this treatment been adopted at the outset and applied to the entire 6km of road under repair, project costs would have increased by $390,000, he said.

Following the repairs, the 6km of road will be resealed later this season, restoring the road’s waterproof surface.