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More money will have to be spent - probably millions - on Maniototo roads in the coming years to cater for more intensive farming, the Central Otago District Council was told at its estimates meeting this week.
The council resolved to spend $3.6 million on roading in the next financial year and Cr Barry Becker, also chairman of the Maniototo Community Board, warned more intensive farming in that area was taking a toll on gravel roads.
"There's four or five milk tankers going up and down gravel roads in the Maniototo now and I don't think our grader can keep the ruts out of the road," he said.
"The whole scenario has changed in the Maniototo now. We've got 10 dairy farms, all big units and the Greenfields [farm] also carting stock around.
"I believe our roading will shortly need a major capital input and I'm just flagging it for councillors. It's going to cost millions to keep the roads up to standard," Mr Becker said.
Cr Graeme Bell, chairman of the council's roading committee, said the council needed to look at its strategic roading in the Maniototo.
"We might have to bite the bullet as a council."
Council roading manager Julie Muir said a report was needed on the matter before the next council long-term plan. She pointed out that it was unlikely the council would get government subsidies for seal extension.
Central Otago Mayor Tony Lepper said primary producers had an important role in the region and the council would have to get that message through to the roading agency.