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Millions of dollars to repair Hinakura


Last month’s slip on Hinakura Rd caused major fissures and deep cracks in the ground. PHOTO/ISABELLA CLEARY


A rural South Wairarapa road destroyed by a landslide will cost millions of dollars to reroute and rebuild.

Last month, more than 500m of Hinakura Rd was destroyed by a 500,000 cubic metre landslide, cutting off 33 households.

A report to South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] said damage to the existing road was significant, and the landslide was still active and dangerous to cross.

Specialist advice is that the current road alignment is not feasible, so a new road must be created to reconnect the Hinakura community to Martinborough.

This long-term solution would likely cost between $2 million and $5m, a council report said.

Currently, alternative access to Hinakura is via Admiral Hill, which adds up to three hours to a round-trip.

It used to take about 20 minutes to reach Martinborough.

At Wednesday’s Assets and Services Committee, council staff would ask elected members to approve the use of $500k of unbudgeted capital expenditure to allow them to continue work on a new roading alignment and design.

The initial $500k would cover hiring a project manager to lead the work stream, monitoring the site using remote sensors and rain gauges, exploring road alignment options, and completing an engineering design, plans, and cost estimates.

Once this was done, the road would be built “as soon as possible”, the council report said.

The rebuild of the Hinakura Rd would be a capital project that is anticipated to be loan-funded over a 30-year term [the average life of a rural road].

Council staff are also asking elected members to approve the use of up to $300k for the Rural Road Reserve to continue the maintenance and improvement of an alternative route to Hinakura via Admiral Hill and to support the creation of a temporary farm track built by private landowners which would reconnect the Hinakura community to the road on the Martinborough side.

Both requests are set to be ratified by the full council on Thursday.

SWDC partnerships and operations manager Stefan Corbett, who wrote the council report, said the construction of the temporary farm track would be led by landowner Don McCreary who estimated it would cost less than $70k.

“We consider the initiative is a much-needed one that people will use for a significant period, including through winter,” Corbett said.

“It would be a vital lifeline for emergency use if the Admiral Hill Rd route closed for any reason.”

At a community meeting last month, McCreary said the council and residents had the same goal – “and that is access”.

“We’re all on the same team, different positions, but the same team.

“And we are all playing the same opponent and that is the landslide.

“And we’re going to kick its arse.”

The council report said McCreary would need to construct the track to the best standard possible and would remain liable for any safety issues that happen on the land by people using it.

The council funding would be provided contingent on the landowner receiving any necessary consents and approvals from Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Waka Kotahi has approved the council’s initial application for $200k of emergency works funding.

Further funding applications will be made once costs firm up. – 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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