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Hinekura Rd repair funding refused

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.”


    Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air


  1. Feel we could get more things achieved (and reduce rates) if the costings for these things are critiqued more. $14M? I remember we used to dream of winning $1M as life changing. $14M would pay for approx 224 full time workers for a year. Even with shovels 224 full time workers probably wouldn’t take a year to complete.

  2. The other road into Hinekura is haphazard at best. If something happens to that road, there will be no practical usable way in or out. I don’t think that’s an acceptable outcome for anyone.

    This road has to be repaired somehow, in the interests of the long term well being and safety of the residents and workers.

  3. Not often I agree with this outfit. But it’s not a bottomless pit. If it was a permanent fix may be different, but some areas are just not suitable .
    For roads, as we know them today.
    Perhaps old school baily bridges, and other things may work. But with today’s health and safety rules hard to make the standard.

Comments are closed.

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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