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Pothole patches double in district

Pothole patches double in district
A reconstructed section of the Arundel-Rakaia Gorge Road now, and what it was like before. At this site the existing road was dug out to a 500mm depth, strong river gravels put back, 150mm of gravel put on top and then chipsealed to mean that the previous 100mm thickness of road was replaced with 650mm thickness of road. SUPPLIED

Almost as many potholes were filled in 2022 as in the previous three years in the Ashburton District.
The Ashburton District Council filled 12,074 potholes in 2022, twice as many as the 5917 in 2021, and only just under the combined 13,775 from 2019 to 2021.
Council infrastructure and open spaces group manager, Neil McCann, said the higher figure reflected a significant increase in potholes following the significant rainfall and flooding in May and June 2021.
The high number of pothole fixes should serve as reassurance to the community that the council is actively tackling the problem – the district’s biggest problem according to the annual resident survey results.
“Council put all the extra money in to do exactly that and hopefully people can see the results.”
McCann said the colder and wetter months, typically June to August, usually have the highest spikes in pothole counts as the weather conditions are not favourable for permanent pothole repairs.
That was highlighted following the one-in-200-year rain event that ravaged the district’s roading network.
The number of pothole repairs jumped from 3985 in 2020 to 5917 in 2021 and then doubled in 2022.
There is likely some variance in the way the pothole fixes were recorded with a change of contractor, McCann said, with Fulton Hogan replaced in 2020 by HEB Construction who was awarded the council’s $30m five-year road maintenance and operations contract.
McCann said that the temporary pothole repairs made, the holding patch until a major crew can come in and fix it, cost around $125,000 a year.
“This is part of the $1.65 million for sealed road repairs, including more permanent repairs such as dig-outs and cement stabilisations.”
The council only pays for the temporary pothole repair in the first instance, and any repeat temporary fix is at the contractor’s cost.
McCann said in the current financial year there is also $2.7m for resealing to prevent potholes from occurring, with 58 per cent ($1,566,000) completed by mid-December.
Then there is the $3.75m for complete road reconstruction, which McCann said includes the extra $1.7m the council put in to address the roading issues, with 51 per cent ($1,900,000) completed by mid-December.
He said the contractors are busy working on the summer reseal and reconstruction programme, which will be completed by March.

  • By Jonathan Leask