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This is ultimately down to the high level of rainfall we have seen this winter combined with the geological makeup of the Central Hawkes Bay district. The geological conditions of the region play a large part in the areas susceptibility to slips. The soils throughout the Central Hawkes Bay are typically derived from soft mudstone rocks, which decompose to weak clays and silts. These ground conditions are particularly vulnerable to slips in heavy or prolonged rain events.

With persistent rainfall throughout the year, the sodden ground was given little reprieve to dry out between one downpour to the next. This has increased the frequency and scale of the damage across the roading network.

Further to this, there are limited options for treating damage to roads when the ground is wet, so repair works have been significantly hampered due to the enduring nature of the rainfall. This has meant a large number of slip sites have had to be maintained, rather than repaired, for extended periods of time in order to retain access.  

In the immediate term, Council have approved the immediate release of $1,200,000 from its Catastrophic Events Fund so the team can get started on the most urgent and high-risk repairs. The work being undertaken is to maintain access only. Due to the extent of the required remedial works further funding is required to progress permanent remedial solutions.

We are very aware that the full cost is far beyond what our ratepayers can afford, which is why we’re applying to Waka Kotahi for funding. 

The damage to roads and associated funding requirements is a nationwide issue, with many if not all Councils reaching out to Waka Kotahi for financial support. Despite this high demand, we are hopeful that Waka Kotahi will release part of the required funding early next year to allow us to complete the first stages of repairs. 

Given the full scale of work is expected to take three years, Council will continue to apply for further funding in a phased approach over this time. 

Works will be prioritised based on the following factors:

  • Availability of alternative routes and length of alternative routes/detours.
  • Current condition of the road and risk of significant further degradation if remedial works are not prioritised.
  • Economic impact to the region through limited access.
  • Traffic volumes and classification of roads.

Due to the scale of the required works and the need to deliver works in prioritised phases there will be sites that may not have a long-term solution in place for 2-3 years. Where this is the case, these sites will have ongoing maintenance to allow access to be maintained until such time that the site is programmed for physical works.

Throughout 2022 We have been able to maintain access on the majority of roads, which has required ongoing maintenance works to a large number of sites. We will endeavour to maintain the current level of access throughout the delivery of the required physical works. It is important to note, however, that there will be a level of disruption during any construction works and ongoing poor weather will continue to provide a challenge in achieving this.

The best place to find out about what’s happening in this project right now is via this webpage.



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