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Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Masterton

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The seal of disapproval

Motorists were forced to veer off the marked road yesterday as parts of SH2 southbound toward Clareville started “disintegrating.”

The stretch of road between Masterton and Carterton is currently undergoing finishing works as part of Waka Kotahi’s SH2 Safety Improvement Project that started in late July 2022.

Drivers reported that the road had “melted” and that “bits of road surface, some the size of dinner plates, were being thrown up in the air.”

Police received a small number of reports regarding the tar seal “coming up off the road on State Highway 2,” a spokesperson confirmed.

Contractors had been alerted to the road conditions.

“Fortunately, we have not had any accidents related to this,” the police spokesperson said.

Information through an Official Information Act [OIA] request shows that Waka Kotahi had received a total of 93 complaints about the project up until November 6, with 23 of those being in relation to vehicle damage.

Eight of the vehicle damage complaints were in relation to the “Southern [Clareville] section.”

National infrastructure delivery manager Mark Kinvig said in the OIA response, “In general, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has a responsibility to take reasonable care to prevent foreseeable incidents of vehicle damage on the state highway network. Vehicle damage claims are only paid when reasonable care has not been taken.

“When a project [such as a safety improvement project] is underway on a stretch of highway, the contractor for that project assumes responsibility for maintaining the road surface. These contractors undertake remedial work when there is a defect on the road, in the area they are responsible for.

They do this as quickly as possible once a defect is identified, but it is not practical or possible to immediately repair every pothole or defect.

“Complaints that claim the condition of a road has caused damage to a vehicle are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Waka Kotahi and our contractors investigate to see if there are any grounds which may trigger further actions by Waka Kotahi or our contractor.”

The OIA revealed that Waka Kotahi has not made any payments to drivers for vehicle damage claims related to the safety improvement project, but some claims remain under investigation with Higgins.

To date, Waka Kotahi has spent $26.4 million on the project which has included centre wire median barriers, roundabouts, and other safety improvements.

Waka Kotahi was approached for comment yesterday but could not get a response back before the print deadline.

1 COMMENT

  1. NZTA failed road users on having unsafe and unsatisfactory roading. The government department needs scraping from the top CEOS down and the replacement giving set standards and conditions that must be adhered to with yearly targets to be met.

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