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Driving up costs

PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

$2 million price tag for urgent road repairs

It will cost more than $2 million to urgently fix damage to Masterton’s rural roading network caused by an extreme weather event in July.

And a long-term option of realigning the affected roads could cost up to $12m.

Only the former option has been recommended for approval by Masterton District Council’s elected members.

On July 12, more than 109mm of rain fell on Masterton’s already saturated catchment in less than 24 hours.

This caused the failure of 19 key sections of rural roading, and routes are still affected, with lanes partially or fully closed.

With the risk of further damage high, councillors have been asked to approve urgent repair works on seven of the 19 sites, amounting to $2,025,000.

Approving the works will plunge the council’s Flood Damage Fund into a deficit of from $760,000 to $1.06m by June next year, assuming no further weather events cause further damage.

A report to council said the deficit in the Flood Damage Fund could be sustained in the short term by offsetting it against the council’s overall investment funds.

But the fund should be restored to a positive balance and to do so, council would need to add at least two per cent to next year’s projected rates increase.

According to the 2021-2031 Long-Term Plan, next year’s rates were set to rise by 5.5 per cent.

Alternatively, restoring the fund could be smoothed over two years with increases of 1 per cent per year.

These increases could continue to build the fund back up.

Waka Kotahi is yet to confirm whether the July weather event qualifies for the emergency works fund.

If the claim is accepted, it would reduce the council share of the cost by $300,000.

Of the seven sites needing urgent repair, three are on Masterton-Castlepoint Rd, and four are on Blairlogie-Langdale Rd.

The most expensive piece of work [$842,924] involves building a 72-metre long retaining wall with 7m embedded grouted anchors on Blairlogie-Langdale Rd to prevent further loss of the road.

Masterton councillors were set to discuss the road repair options yesterday.

The remaining sites identified were being monitored and investigated for viable solutions which would be tabled later. – NZLDR

  • 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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