Road will be repaired soon: council

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Missing pieces . . . Dougal Stringer of Wendon Valley holds a chunk of seal which has chipped off Wendon Valley Rd.

After a complaint made more than two and a-half years ago, the Gore District Council is assuring Wendon Valley Rd residents their road will be fixed by the end of the month.

There are several sections of the sealed road where its edges have broken away.

Dougal Stringer, of Wendon Valley, said the road’s condition had only been getting worse since he first brought it to the council’s attention in 2019.

“They put white lines around it like they do when they’re going to repair it .. I thought ‘this is good’.”

However the road was never repaired and the lines faded, he said.

“About March last year, I rung again. It was up the next day … they put the white lines around.

“I thought ‘this is good’.”

Again the lines faded and the road still had not been repaired, he said.

He knew of other residents who were also unhappy with the state of the road.

Drivers had to decide whether to cross the centre line and go around the damaged sections, or put their vehicles at risk and drive over them, which only made the damage worse, he said.

“It wrecks tyres … rips the side out of them.

“We come up and down here with our tractors and machinery. I go around it.”

One of the damaged sections of road was near a corner, Mr Stringer said.

“[It is a] wonder there hasn’t been an accident because it forces people over right on a bend.

“We’re paying rates like buggery.. and what’ve we got? Shingle roads and potholes.”

He did not understand how the council could justify spending money “to build themselves another castle” while roads were falling into disrepair and putting drivers at risk.

Council roading asset manager Murray Hasler said he could not comment on why the repairs were not undertaken in 2019 as he was not working for the council then, but work was now on schedule to be completed by the end of the month.

“The council’s 2021-22 repair programme has been behind schedule due to demands from throughout Southland on the specialist crew needed for this type of work and the impact of Covid on the crew’s capacity,” he said.

“Most of our road repairs have a safety element, which means we have to prioritise work based on risk.

“When assessing risk, staff take into account traffic volumes. Precedence is given to roads carrying greater traffic volumes.”

Narrower sealed roads such as Wendon Valley Rd would be shoulder-graded more frequently in the future, Mr Hasler said.

“This will help maintain the gravel support to the edge of the seal and ensure the integrity of the seal edge for longer.”