Farmer irked road still in poor state

Taieri Peak Rd,  inland from Palmerston, is ungraded,  potholed and has clay close to the road...
Taieri Peak Rd, inland from Palmerston, is ungraded, potholed and has clay close to the road surface. Photo: supplied.
A lack of grading and for-midible  potholes produced a surface so slippery that a St John driver refused to drive an ambulance on Taieri Peak Rd, near Palmerston, to an accident, last winter where a vehicle had crashed off the road.

A volunteer firefighter drove the ambulance back to Palmerston from the crash scene  and a  rescue helicopter took the two accident victims to hospital.

Andy Denham, who lives and farms  on Taieri Peak Rd, said nothing  had been done to improve the road in the last 12 months. There were "potholes the size of craters" on the  road, Palmerston Volunteer Fire Brigade Chief Fire Officer Gary Johnston said this week. Thousands of dollars were being paid in rates by the four farming families living near the top of Taieri Peak Rd, Waitaki  district councillor for the Waihemo ward, Jan Wheeler, said.

The families deserved  better  than a seldom-graded road with clay close to the surface, she said.

Grading of Taieri Peak Rd had deteriorated from once every six weeks when Whitestone Contracting held the contract to four times in four years by the present contractor, South Roads, Mr Denham told this week’s public forum of the  Waihemo Community Board  in Palmerston. Instead of being able to travel at up to 50kmh on Taieri Peak Rd it was now necessary to slow to 5kmh to 10kmh  on sections of the road, he said.  The road is also being used by logging trucks taking timber from a forestry site to Palmerston.

Costs of roading work had gone up, Waitaki  Mayor Gary Kircher said at the Waihemo Community Board meeting. Money should be allocated to fix the potholes,  board chairwoman  Kathy Dennison said.

Mr Denham said when Whitestone Contracting managed the roads, limestone aggregate from the Dunback lime works had been used.

In recent times other inferior products had been used that had  not lasted or were that sharp they punctured vehicle  tyres. He  had negotiated a price for lime aggregate on the council’s behalf with  the Dunback  lime works for $8  to $10 a tonne,  a  good price. He forwarded his findings to Waitaki District Council roading manager Michael Voss  but nothing had happened, Mr Denham said.

The Waihemo Community Board should approach local farmers to see if any farmers in the area could supply gravel from their properties to improve the roads in the area, Waitaki District councillor Hugh Perkins said at the  community board meeting. 

A grader had been sent to the Waihemo area to start work on the roads, Mr Voss  said on Tuesday.

He added comment was being sought from ratepayers on roading improvements in the Waitaki district. Suggestions for roading improvements should be submitted to the Waitaki District Council by today.

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