Postie: 'unfit' gravel behind repeat punctures

New Zealand Post rural delivery contractor Megan Pope. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON
New Zealand Post rural delivery contractor Megan Pope. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON
A postwoman says she is fed up with repeated tyre punctures from "unfit" gravel on her rural Clinton beat.

New Zealand Post rural delivery contractor Megan Pope, who also works part-time for the Otago Daily Times, said her work vehicle had received five punctures during the past fortnight, one of which had required a $450 tyre replacement due to its severity.

The succession of flats follows a similar situation last September, when Mrs Pope received a total of eight punctures during a three-week period, after new gravel had been laid.

She estimated repairs had cost her more than $800 to date.

That did not take into account lost work hours and inconvenience, nor the situation's potential safety consequences, she said.

"It's really frustrating, to be honest. We had exactly the same situation last year on Slopedown Rd, which caught out heaps of locals. That didn't improve until the council rolled it properly.

"As soon as I got the first puncture this time round, I got on to council to let them know, but heard nothing until this week, when they said they'd take a look. I'm fed up with the same thing again and again."

Despite plying her 100km, year-round run five days a week for the past 12 years, Mrs Pope estimated she had received a total of only four punctures before last year's upsurge.

She placed the blame squarely on gravel that was "not fit for purpose".

"I actually upgraded my tyres to all-terrain models before last year's problems, so it's definitely a gravel issue. You can see it's larger and sharper, and you know when you're on it, because it feels crunchier to drive on."

She said the worst affected Clinton-Kuriwao routes this year were Dodds, Hazeldale and Owaka Valley Rds.

The issue appears also to be affecting other parts of South Otago.

Davidson Tyres owner Glenn Davidson said his Balclutha business had seen a dramatic increase in gravel punctures recently, district-wide.

"About 50% of our repairs recently have been from gravel punctures, which is very unusual. But it's right across the board from Clydevale to Waiwera South.

"Unfortunately a good portion of those can't be repaired, so [they] need [replacing]. It's a cost for people."

Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said the council had received "no significant increase" in reports of tyre problems at its service desk recently.
Regular winter maintenance was "ongoing" across the district's roads, although he acknowledged issues could sometimes arise post-maintenance.

"We're taking all practicable steps to reduce the incidence of tyre problems. Unfortunately it's an unavoidable outcome that some tyre damage will occur. Given a spike in reports we have remedial options to consider like regrading the road, rolling it, or applying more material."

He said the council reviewed its roading maintenance options regularly, and welcomed feedback from residents to allow issues to be addressed quickly.

The council did not "traditionally" compensate for punctures, as it was difficult to attribute cause.

However, he said it would "consider individual circumstances on a case by case basis".


"Given a spike in reports we have remedial options to consider like regrading the road, rolling it, or applying more material."
Errr how is applying more material going to fix the problem?, who pays these guys who sit in their office all day?, ......... that's right it's us.

What about Health & Safety at work??? What does the contract say? I'd know what I'd do BUT I know one needs a living eh.

Regarding Clutha Council.
A couple of years ago I headed down through the Catlins (from Balclutha) on a beautiful sunny day and enjoying the scenery. Just past Owaka we came upon some roadworks over a bridge which necessitated a considerable detour around a dusty stony road with traffic creating no visibility. Tourists were driving at 5kph all over the road. Cyclists came close to getting run over. There were even hitchhikers trying to detour across farm paddocks. It was the worst traffic management I have ever seen. It was dangerous and a bad look on tourism. We never got to see the Catlins beauty I've heard about.
I rang the Council to ask why there was no advance warning back at Balclutha so we all could have avoided the area.
At Fortrose, I was still trying to get the Clutha Council to see sense. I rang the Southland Council suggesting they put a detour sign up their end.
The consequence = I stood for 4 hours stopping motorists, showing them pics of what it was like and suggesting they turn around and head through Mataura Clinton.