Residents should go online to help the council prioritise which roads see the big machinery first as the drought draws to an end

Graders to roll again

by Andy Bryenton

Road works delayed by the big dry have seen some unsealed country byways become a ‘mess’ of potholes, washboarding and cracking, according to residents who have contacted this publication.

However, there is no truth to the rumour that grading work was stopped due to a lack of funds. Instead, it’s another symptom of the dry spell, which has gripped the Kaipara in recent months.

When we approached the Kaipara District Council to clarify the situation, following the voicing of safety concerns from rural readers who have to traverse often treacherous roads daily, the situation was put into perspective by Calvin Thomas, Northland Transportation Alliance Manager.

“Grading roads requires moisture and has halted with the dry weather.

Although we’ve had a little rain over the last few days, it has not rained consistently throughout Kaipara,” says Mr Thomas.

“Following the big dry, there are now many roads that need smoothing over. With approximately 1,100 kilometres of unsealed roads — we need to prioritise which roads are done first.”

Council authorities explain that without water to wet down the dust, work conditions would be unsafe, and the end results unsatisfactory. However, the NTA is ‘on to it’, seizing the opportunity to grade while they can. They’re currently assessing which roads are in greatest need and determining whether the road surface contains sufficient moisture to allow the road to be graded effectively.

“We’ve started with a few high priority roads, where the moisture level is enough for us to grade. We’ll keep grading where and when we can,” says Mr Thomas, assuring residents that the worst-hit areas are up for the first scrutiny.

“If you think your road needs grading, you’re not alone. You can lodge a request through kaipara.govt.nz, and we’ll get it assessed.”