Current Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown has told the roading contractors they must do better.
Brown, chief executive Hamish Riach, and infrastructure services group manager Neil McCann met with roading contractor HEB this week to discuss the roading network maintenance.
Brown said he informed HEB’s regional infrastructure executive general manager, David Simpson, how “unhappy we are with the work they have been doing on their maintenance over the last year”.
“And ‘what are they going to do about it’.”
Riach said the discussion around what HEB can do better started with the acknowledgment of back-to-back wet winters and the ongoing issues with insufficient funding across New Zealand to maintain the network.
“Acknowledging those constraints, how do we make our scarce resources go a bit further, or how can we do better in the context of the overarching concerns about the roading network,” Riach said.
Brown said HEB is now developing a model for improvement, “on how they think they can do things differently and improve on the maintenance of our roading network”.
HEB will present its plan to the new council in November.
Brown also noted that Local Government NZ (LGNZ) is calling for an independent review of transport funding within the next 12 months.
Brown said the productive meeting with HEB and the request for a funding review, shows the council is coming at the roading problems from all angles “so we try and do better”.
Riach said that in the middle of winter, when the ground is wet, “there is almost no technology that can fix a pot hole beyond a couple of days”.
“The trick is to do a really good job of the rehab work when the weather is great so the water doesn’t get in.”
McCann said the council is about to get stuck into the maintenance programme.
“We have a big programme this coming summer, it’s bigger than last year.”
The entire capital works roading programme was delivered last year and there is more on the books this year, with the council adding $1.7m in unsubsidised road funding.
“This is going to be a summer that we want to see delivery and an improvement of the assets.
“A lot of money is going towards it and a lot of work has gone into setting up and programming the works so we, with HEB, are looking forward to a successful roading programme.”
Councillor Stuart Wilson says the solution for the pothole problems, especially over the wetter winter months, is tackling them sooner rather than later.
“If we can encouraging people to report potholes when they are small. It’s so much quicker and easier [to fix] and to me, they last a lot longer.
“It’s these gigantic big holes. They are the ones that continually [cause problems].”
Utilising the Snap, Send, Solve app to identify a pothole as soon as it develops will avoid the larger, harder-to-fix potholes from emerging and recurring, he said.
Current Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown agreed.
“Every person has a piece of road outside their property. They need to take, not ownership of it, but stewardship of it and if it’s not right Snap, Send. Solve it in.
“If they all did that we would be on to it,” Brown said.
- By Jonathan Leask