Auckland Transport berated over state of rural roads

The Landowners and Contractors Association is the latest group to take Auckland Transport (AT) to task over the state of the district’s rural roads.

In a letter to AT chief executive Dean Kimpton, association chair Brian Mason says the extreme weather events this year have highlighted the poor allocation and management of resources.

“We see nothing other than the misuse of resources in return for the constant and ever increasing rate demands placed on us by Auckland Council,” the letter said.

“In my view, our roads, from Helensville to south Mangawhai, have never been in such a state of neglect.”

As an example, Mason described his own road – Pakiri Block Road, which he said had been impassable after recent weather events.

“Culverts have been purposely blocked by the council grader, resulting in large gabion-sized rocks washing across the road, closing it to all but heavy vehicles, the school bus and the milk tanker.

“Underslips into the Poutawa Stream further endanger the drivers and occupants of these vehicles. On two recent occasions, local farmers and an experienced local earthmoving contractor have taken turns opening the road to the public. We are all maintaining our own farm races and laneways, so are well-versed in required actions. We use cost-effective solutions and build a road to discharge stormwater adequately. Hence, our dismay to see the contrary occurring under the instructions of AT.”

Mason said AT needed to properly plan, instruct and inspect the works being undertaken before signing any job off.

“We see such wasteful use of resources, labour and machinery. On the Pakiri Block Road there was a generous dressing of quality metal applied, only to be either washed off the carriageway or down into the neighbouring paddock.

“A little further towards Tomarata School, there is considerable but not extraordinary runoff towards the road, which was always channelled into a water table. Over the last two years, the grader has pushed banks of dirt/mud into the existing drain resulting in damming.

“Stormwater now washes across the road causing ruts and channels. On inspection of the installed culvert, even during a flood, no water was near to flowing through it. In fact, rodents had taken to nesting in the pipe!”

The letter described rural roads where culverts were blocked, paddock entrances washed away, roads narrowed to a dangerous width and where motorists risked their lives dodging potholes.

Mason called on AT to take action on the maintenance of rural roads and employ better accountability from contractors.