Road may be too damaged to salvage

Kelso dairy farmer Adam McCall attends to stock stranded by the Pomahaka River during January's...
Kelso dairy farmer Adam McCall attends to stock stranded by the Pomahaka River during January's widespread floods. PHOTO: GEORGIE MCCALL
Access to a rural South Otago road may be permanently restricted following recent severe flood damage.

The possibility of a permanent closure for a section of Burning Plain Rd, which runs beside the Pomahaka River about 10km west of Clydevale, was raised during Thursday’s Clutha District Council service delivery committee meeting in Balclutha.

The Pomahaka reached a record flow of 874cumecs at nearby Burkes Ford during the February floods, causing widespread damage and destroying sections of the unsealed link road.

Council service delivery group manager Jules Witt said any effort to bring the road back into commission would involve ‘‘extensive’’ repair, including river flood protection.

As it involved the riverbank, the Clutha District Council was discussing the situation with Otago Regional Council.

An accurate estimate of cost would not be possible until that process was completed.

Acting transportation operations manager Murray Fletcher said discussions also needed to take place with affected landowners.

He said the road was used by three farms, and was ‘‘non-essential’’.

‘‘There are other alternatives for access for local landowners, but we need to go back to them and discuss what degree of reinstatement is practical and necessary.’’

Earlier estimates had placed the cost of remedial work for all Clutha roads affected by the floods at about $1million, but Mr Fletcher said a more accurate figure now was closer to $2million.

That did not include the cost of reinstating Burning Plain Rd.

He said recent concerns council contractor SouthRoads lacked sufficient capacity to complete essential flood repairs had proved to be premature.

‘‘We now have two project managers in place, and remedial flood works have been prioritised from highest 1 to lowest 5, allowing a detailed action plan to be formed.’’

SouthRoads had indicated work would be completed in six months.

The NZ Transport Agency is expected to contribute the majority of project funding.

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