Road sealing priority list up for review

Residents are baffled by the installation of crash barriers along the newly-sealed stretch of Silver Hill Road in Te Hana.

Auckland Transport (AT) will review its road sealing priority list this month after work on the top three roads nears completion.

Matakana Valley Road was the number one priority and was sealed last year. Takatu Road has been divided into three stages – one is complete, a second is underway and the final stage is expected to start this month. The third priority, a 1.9km stretch of Silver Hill Road in Te Hana, is also in the final stages of sealing.

Rodney Local Board Wellsford subdivision representative Colin Smith says he is baffled by the amount of material used to resurface the Silver Hill Road.

“They built up the road by 1.5m with 7000 tonnes of blue metal; it’s absolute madness,” Mr Smith says.

“We could have tar-sealed most of Silver Hill Road with that money, not just 2km.”

The road has also been narrowed to one lane over an existing two-lane culvert.

Mr Smith says narrowing the road and installing a crash barrier has also created a safety hazard.

Silver Hill Road resident Doug Withers says he is pleased the road has been sealed to a high standard, but says many road users believe the safety barrier is dangerous and needs to be removed. He contacted one of the contractors to ascertain why the barrier had been erected.

“I was told the barrier was for the existing one-way bridge. There hasn’t been a one-way bridge there for 20 years,” Mr Withers says.

AT spokesperson Mark Hannan says that all the projects undergo road safety audits at the design and post-construction stages.

“These are independent tests, which check the safety of the road for all road users,” Mr Hannan says.

In October 2015, Auckland Transport signed a $10 million contract with Auckland-based contractors Broadspectrum to seal the top four roads on the list, which also includes Minowai Road in Wainui. The 3.9km stretch of Minowai Road is currently at the detailed design stage and work is set to begin in November.

Rodney Councillor Greg Sayers says he has scheduled meetings with Auckland Transport this month to get detailed financial costs.

“I’ve been seeking independent quotes so that I can ascertain if ratepayers are getting value for money,” he says.
Cr Sayers wants Council to increase the Rodney road sealing programme spend from around $3 million to $10 million a year, for the next 10 years. He says that would seal one-third of the ward’s unsealed roads.

The priority roads list is based on volume of traffic, the number of properties and amenities, road steepness, and the number of accidents that have occurred on the road. Cr Sayers believes this criteria needs to include public input and take into account production roads, which create dust from milk tankers and forestry trucks.

The new priority list will be made available later this month.