Waka Kotahi has denied a $14 million funding request to realign Martinborough’s Hinekura Rd, saying the investment does not represent “value for money”.
The road has been closed since June last year following a significant slip triggered by a severe weather event, cutting off about 30 families.
Alternative routes are in place but add significant travel time.
A temporary farm track through private land has also been developed but has steep vertical grades and is not built to public road engineering standards.
Correspondence from Waka Kotahi is included in the agenda for South Wairarapa District Council’s [SWDC] Infrastructure and Community Services Committee, which meets on Thursday.
The average daily traffic movements on Hinekura Rd is estimated at 225, with eight per cent of these being heavy traffic.
Waka Kotahi’s regional manager of maintenance and operations Mark Owen said, with this data in mind, the organisation does not believe the project represents value for money. He said Waka Kotahi may possibly be able to make a contribution of about 20 per cent of project costs, “in line with Waka Kotahi’s uneconomic roads policies”.
“On the other hand, if a more affordable solution were agreed, then this would likely be funded at an enhanced Financial Assistance Rate [75 per cent Waka Kotahi share] based on Council’s level of Emergency Works Expenditure to date.”
In the report to the council’s infrastructure committee, SWDC partnerships and operations manager Stefan Corbett said the council retain the ability to pursue the preferred option “but the cost would predominantly have to be drawn from rates”.
A report on several alignment options by consultancy firm WSP states that a realistic cost estimate for the project is not possible as there are many unknowns.
“The main costs are related to the earthworks volumes and associated drainage and slope design/stabilisation measures,” WSP geotechnical technical principal David Stewart said.
“While shorter options or those that utilise existing roads may appear cheaper, this is dependent on the state of the existing routes which may require expensive retrofitting/strengthening.
“While we have done initial costings, we are reluctant to release these due to the number of unknowns which could significantly affect the costings.”
Councillors have considered the WSP report, participated in two workshops to digest and interrogate the technical advice, had discussions with council engineers, and hosted a community meeting.
Corbett said that to move forward, council management now seeks guidance from elected members on a preferred alignment option.
“This would allow us to tender to achieve engineered and consulted plans as a basis for construction [if a new road is to be built,” he said.
“The preferred option would come from the Infrastructure and Community Services Committee as a recommendation to full council.”
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