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Council sets path to fix coastal road



A hybrid solution for an eroding coastal road has been rubber-stamped by council.
Masterton’s Mataikona Rd, which provides access to three settlements, Mataikona Station, and several farming and forestry properties, is increasingly under pressure from storm events and sea erosion.
Sections of the route are at risk of washing out entirely and isolating the community, a recent council report said.
“If the current ongoing maintenance and emergency work on Mataikona Rd were to stop, it is anticipated that sections of the road would be lost in less than a year, severing access.”
At this week’s Masterton District Council meeting, elected members unanimously agreed to endorse a multifaceted solution and carry out a detailed business case.
The preferred option is a combination of realigning the road, increased maintenance, and road strengthening when and where it can be afforded.
This option would not have a cost estimate until a business case can be done, but an interim provisional sum of $10 million is allocated in the council’s asset management plan and Long-Term Plan.
External funding would also be sought for the project once a detailed business case is completed.
Potential funding partners include Waka Kotahi, Ministry for the Environment, and farming and forestry operators.
To carry out the preferred option, the council must investigate opportunities for road retreat [realignment] and strengthening, a report from roading engineer Kane Jaquiery said.
“Where realignment of the road is acceptable, a more detailed assessment of the purchase of affected properties will also be required,” he said in his report.
“This may require partial or complete property purchases in some locations.”
Mataikona Rd is a 13km long, mostly gravel road.
The northern end of the road connects with Pack Spur Rd, which extends 6km before it crosses into private land.
The council’s roading programme has funded several temporary repair works in recent years, with varying degrees of success.
The small ratepayer base and low traffic volume of the road make it challenging to justify continued funding for repairs and upgrades, the council said.
Thorough engagement was held with stakeholders to develop a long list of options and to select the preferred option.
Councillor David Holmes, a champion of rural issues, said the community was impressed with the way council had handled the situation.
“We’re not particularly good at taking the community with us sometimes, but you’ve done a really good job out there. Keep it up because it’s a big job and we don’t know what lies ahead of us.
“We’re not particularly good at taking the community with us sometimes, but you’ve done a really good job out there.
“Keep it up because it’s a big job, and we don’t know what lies ahead of us.”
Deputy Mayor Bex Johnson congratulated council staff on the detailed report.
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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