NZTA has signalled significant resurfacing, and reconstruction work will begin on Masterton’s Chapel St before the end of the year. PHOTOS/FILE/MARY ARGUE

MARY ARGUE

mary.argue@age.co.nz

A day after a Times-Age story on the poor condition of Masterton’s state highway, NZTA acknowledges it’s time to give up on “holding measures” MARY ARGUE reports.

Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency regional manager Wellington Mark Owen said that significant road resurfacing and reconstruction on Chapel St would begin before the end of the year.

“Repeated surface repairs to State Highway 2 on Chapel St, as seen over recent years, have been needed as a holding measure until we could do significant road works as a long-term solution.”

He did not elaborate on the cost of the holding measures or the timing of initiating the long-term solution.

He said the total cost of the roading project was yet to be finalised.

Owen said funding for the two-year road rehabilitation programme would come from the National Land Transport Programme [NLTP] and would include areas that have received repeated resurfacing over the years.

Photos taken a year apart [above] show the road has crumbled in the exact same place.

The stretch of road between Pak’nSave and the Warehouse has had numerous repairs dating back to 2005.

The cost of the most recent fix in September last year, was met by the contractor.

Sections of the road are currently sporting several large cracks and potholes.

Owen said Wairarapa District had weakened road bases due to a high water table and was under constant pressure from heavy trucks.

“The area of Chapel St between Cornwall and Michael Streets is a case in point where the base of the road is weaker than other parts of Chapel St.”

He said, “deep repairs” between Hope St and Lincoln Rd were carried out in June in anticipation of asphalt resurfacing on the northern section of Chapel St.

However, in wetter months, specifically from May to August, “holding” repairs were the focus, with crews undertaking minor repairs to failed road sections.

AA Wairarapa chairman Craig Bowyer said it was imperative that Wairarapa’s main arterial routes were fixed.

“There are a lot of trucks that are coming through. To fix the problem, they have to fix it deep down.

“They may need to excavate up to a metre. It can’t just be skin deep.

“As soon as there is wet weather. Boom. The road goes.”

He said there was a significant shortfall in road funding, especially in Wairarapa, which contributed to the ongoing need for maintenance between Masterton’s north and south roundabouts on SH2.

Owen said NZTA was committed to Masterton and working with the district council to programme the upcoming projects, which the newly formed Wellington Transport Alliance would lead.

He said more consultation would take place over the coming months.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said it was good to see that NZTA understood road users’ issues.

“They have recognised it, and it’s fantastic that they have plans in place to address it.”

NZTA said it was spending more on nationwide road maintenance, with the 2021-24 NLTP providing a significant increase with up to $2.8 billion invested in maintenance and operations.

It said the upcoming season would target 2450 kilometres, the largest ever single-season programme on the state highway network.



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