Repairing the existing damage is one part of the puzzle but ensuring a roading network that is safe and reliable well into the future is going to require a forward-thinking and targeted approach.
Guidance from the Ministry for the Environment suggests climate change is likely to have an impact on the Central Hawke’s Bay over the coming years, with changes to wind and weather patterns, sea level rises, increased flood risk and frequency of extreme weather events predicted.
We have been already the effects of climate change on our roading infrastructure and the communities that live alongside it for some time now. The level of rainfall we have seen this winter alone has, as we know, given rise to a high level of damage on our roads.
Although transportation systems and their infrastructure are designed to withstand typical weather patterns, the impacts of current climate change and those arising in the short, medium, and long term can influence the infrastructure itself, the efficiency of transportation operations, and the ability of the infrastructure to withstand extreme events outside the “typical” range.
As a Council, we are committed to building long-term resilience into our roading infrastructure and we are working on climate action plans on a local level and alongside our regional and national colleagues.This involves reducing the vulnerability of our assets already exposed to climate change, ensuring all new infrastructure is fit for a changing climate and considering the long-term climate impacts when making decisions to maintain, upgrade, repair or replace existing infrastructure.
We are acutely aware this is a big task and one requiring a long-term focus. The future impacts of climate change are still uncertain, so it will be an ongoing process of adjusting our responses and decision-making. We are also aware this journey is not just about ‘roads’; it’s about ensuring social and economic resilience for Central Hawke’s Bay, and making sure our people, businesses, and rural economy are all at the centre of everything we do.
When the time comes, we want to hear your ideas about how we can achieve all of this. You can also rest assured we endeavour to bring you, our valuable communities, along on this journey – every step of the way.
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