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Road repairs on budget

After months of delays, the Hinakura Valley community has plenty of cause to celebrate as the work on their newly repaired road looks to come in close to budget.

South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] announced last week that Hinakura Rd had reopened between Hikawera and Moeraki.

The project budget was just over $785,000, with the construction component coming in on budget, while the remainder is being finalised.

SWDC roading manager Tim Langley confirmed yesterday the road is now open to all vehicles including heavy traffic.

“Trucks were using the road during the later stages of construction,” he said.

Langley said the school bus will also be able to use the road safely in all weather while driving to the conditions.

The fix follows a large portion of the road collapsing into the valley below in June 2022. The major slip happened after several previous closures and repairs and made it impassable.

The Hinakura Valley community spoke last year about their struggle managing without the area’s major road into Martinborough, the closest town. A longer alternative route using Admiral Rd in Carterton was narrow, and marginal in bad weather.

Residents spoke at the time about needing to use locator beacons instead of 111 in medical emergencies, along with reduced incomes, children unable to get to school, problems transporting stock and goods, and increased workloads as farm workers left the area and family members did the heavy lifting.

In the absence of a useable road, residents had used a track over private land accessible only by 4 x 4 vehicles.

SWDC representatives acknowledged residents’ frustration at the time and said work was progressing, but no timeframe to fix the road had been set as of last September.

With the route open once again, residents’ transport frustrations are expected to lessen.

Langley said the community’s desire for a low-cost high-risk solution to open the road on roughly the same alignment as the old route had been delivered.

“It is acknowledged that it’s through an active landslide,” he said.

“The repair option was to get the road open through the landslide and not to stabilise the landslide. Earthworks and drainage works were installed to assist the stability of the hill.”

Langley advised drivers to drive to road conditions.

“We look forward to celebrating the road reopening with the Hinekura community in due course,” he said.

It is understood SWDC plans a small celebration with residents at Hinakura Hall in mid-April to mark the reopening of the road.

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