More gravel included in road budget

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A 20% deficiency in the volume of gravel being applied to unsealed roads has been discovered by the Gore District Council.

Councillors discussed the “Adequacy of Gravel Road Maintenance” report at the council meeting on Tuesday night.

The council endorsed a recommendation for an additional 2000cu m of gravel, costing about $55,000 a year, to be added to the roading budget to cover the deficit.

It was hoped that figure would be made up of 45% from the council and the rest from NZTA, council transport manager Peter Standring said.

The document addressed the issue of whether sufficient metal was applied to unsealed roads, Mr Standring said in the report.

“We aim to maintain a healthy depth of metal on all our unsealed roads which allows us to form and maintain a strong running surface,” he said.

The existing network maintenance strategy for metalling gravel roads was cyclic, to the extent of 9000cu m per year for a quarter of the network.

About 75% of the metal allocation was used for the planned programme, he said.

The remaining 25% of gravel was used for emergency spot metalling around the unsealed road network.

Staff undertook an extensive site survey of the road network to help with present and future budget plans, he said.

Cr Graham Sharp said the allocation of $55,000 was on “the light side” and proposed the figure be lifted to $100,000. However, that recommendation lapsed for want of a seconder.

Cr Sharp then recommended $75,000, which also lapsed for want of a seconder.

Many councillors wanted a cautious approach until it was ascertained whether further funding was needed.

“Let’s go quietly till we see where we get to,” Cr Peter Grant said.

Cr Cliff Bolger said heavier vehicles were using rural roads and volumes of traffic were increasing.

Cr Ralph Beale said it could help formulate a strategy if they found out in advance where logging companies planned to be working, as those vehicles could place pressure on roads.