Calls for road sealing

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Omaui resident John Collins is concerned about the state of the small town's roads. Photo: John Collins

AN unsealed road in a town near Invercargill has residents concerned, but council says sealing it is less cost-effective than repair work.

Omaui resident John Collins said, most recently, it was a washout after heavy rain which had caused an issue with the gravelled Omaui and MokoMoko Rds.

However, he said problems were continuous.

“Increasing numbers of people are using this road development going on out here and more people living out here.”

The beach had also become popular, he said.

“Large amounts of vehicles are going over the roads and when council sends someone, it’s good for about a day or two days and then right back to normal all corrugated and whatnot.”

He said the long-term issues needed to be dealt with, as visitors and residents, including senior citizens, did not all have four-wheel-drive vehicles.

One particular patch of damage had been there for a month, he said.

“It’s a health and safety issue, it’s dangerous in places and needs to be fixed pronto,” is what he told Invercargill City Council (ICC) when he rang about it.

When asked about the damage, council roading manager Russell Pearson told the Southland Express staff and contractors had been out to see it to prepare for repair work, which he believed would be done this week.

In the financial year ending June 2020, ICC received seven requests for service in relation to this piece of road and MokoMoko Rds council did not have plans or the budget to seal any gravel roads in its district.

“In order to seal a road, typically there is far more work and cost involved than just the being applied. There needs to be an appropriate foundation beneath the seal which has to be strong enough, and the shape and drainage needs adjusted as roads which are sealed normally have less cross fall.”

He said with ongoing maintenance, overall a sealed road costs more per year than an unsealed road.

“At this stage it is more cost-effective to maintain and repair these roads than to seal (and maintain) them.”

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