SH1 problems to be raised

The Waitaki District Council will discuss the issue of State Highway 1 at Big Kuri Creek, just north of Hampden, and at Richmond-Hilderthorpe - both sections of road closed recently due to flooding - with the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Speaking at a North Otago Federated Farmers meeting yesterday, the council's roading assets manager, Geoff Young, said the NZTA recognised the need to look at both those areas. The recent flooding had been the catalyst to go up the priorities list "a little bit".

There would also be discussions with the Otago Regional Council, as there were a "whole lot of issues" involved and there might also be scope for Federated Farmers to get involved, Mr Young said.

Waitaki district councillor Alistair Mavor said Seven Mile Rd took "a hammering", when State Highway 1 traffic was diverted along it during the flooding, while Mr Young was aware of truck drivers overtaking council staff, who had vehicles with flashing lights.

Asked whether compensation was available, Mr Young said if damage was apparent to the council's roading network, due to extraordinary use, there was a mechanism for recouping costs, although that was hard to quantify.

Kauru Hill farmer Roger Fox said there was poor drainage on the state highway and it should not have to be closed "full stop".

Repairing flooding damage to Waitaki district roads will cost about $1.5 million and the costs will qualify for a NZTA subsidy, which could be about 65%.

The cost of repairing a 2.5m vertical scour on the Ngapara-Georgetown hill could cost well over $100,000. It was hoped to get the short section of affected road opened to a single lane as quickly as possible, Mr Young said.

The approach to the Kauru River bridge on Kakanui Valley Rd has been eroded and that was going to take longer to repair, he said.

On Mr Young's "to do list" was to try to get the NZTA to take over Seven Mile Rd, on the lower Waitaki plains, and Prohibition Rd at Omarama, as state highways. People used them already as de facto state highways and he needed to put a business case together, he said.


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