Saturday, April 20, 2024

Northland paying the price for low level roads funding

Northland Regional Council says the region is paying the price for more than a decade of underinvestment in its local roads network.

A ‘fit for purpose’ Northland roading network prioritising State Highways and strategic local roads is the number one goal of Northland’s Regional Transport Committee (RTC).

As Northland and other regions pick up the pieces following the havoc wreaked by Cyclone Garbielle, committee chair Northland Regional Council (NRC) member Joe Carr says the region’s roading network is paying the price for more than a decade of underinvestment.

“Collectively we understand the frustrations of our community and we will work very hard to address these.”

Councillor Carr says for more than 10 years successive governments have diverted money from the national roading fund to other government outputs.

The RTC’s membership includes Cr Carr, his deputy John Blackwell (NRC), Cr Steve McNally (Far North District Council), Cr Simon Reid (Whangarei District Council) and Cr Ash Nayyar (Kaipara District Council).

“Our highest priority is getting the entire roading network up to fit for purpose standard, prioritising State Highways and strategic local roads. We want to see a resilient roading network up and going with a strong focus on route security,” said Cr Carr.

The Northland Mayoral Forum says connecting the region’s districts is also vitally important to the economic growth of the region.

Cr Carr says the RTC is aware that the roading networks in other regions are facing their own challenges, including massive Cyclone Gabrielle-related damage, but says central government needs to invest many millions of dollars into Northland.

He says as well as insufficient maintenance in Northland, there was not enough investment in proactive solutions to emerging issues.

“One of our real concerns is that we have been forewarned about the changing climate we’re living in, but we’ve actually not taken that forewarning into account with preventative drainage and fit for purpose sealing on our roading network.”

He says eight years was the maximum manageable interval between roading reseals.

“Seal is designed to stop water from penetrating roading surfaces and unfortunately of late we’ve seen a perfect storm of bad weather and a crumbling network,” said Cr Carr.

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