Coastal road strategy to be presented

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The Waitaki District Council will be presented with a strategy that aims to protect the coastal road south of Oamaru to Waianakarua next week.

The Draft Coastal Roads Strategy 2014 will be presented to councillors at a meeting on July 23.

Assets group manager Neil Jorgensen said a community group was set up to look at coastal roads and provide feedback to council.

This has been done and a number of recommendations made by the Coastal Road Community Group have been incorporated into the strategy, he said.

The recommendations include that the coastal route remain a contiguous two-lane sealed road and that funds are set aside for the installation of rock fill to strengthen vulnerable areas.

“There is clearly a desire within the community to ensure the longevity of coastal roads.

“A fully operational roading network has significant economic and social benefits.”

Upgrading the coastal road would also mean there is an alternative route to SH1 if needed and would keep heavy vehicles negotiating the intersection from Waianakarua Rd onto SH1 to a minimum, thus improving general road safety, Mr Jorgensen said.

“Council acknowledges that coastal erosion is not unique to the Waitaki district; it is a nationwide reality and one that must be addressed.

“By working with the community and NZ Transport Agency we are confident that a sustainable solution is within reach.”

Coastal Road Community Group chairman Peter Amyes said, while the draft strategy is brief, if interpreted in the right way it will make sure the Council keeps the road open as long as practicable.

It is a positive step from previous draft strategies in 2010 and 2013 which stated the road needed to be closed as it was not cost effective to fix, he said.

“The new strategy reflects the desire of the community to keep the road open, not at all cost, but as long as possible.

“I think it will cater to the community’s clearly expressed desire to maintain access.”

The draft strategy does include some financial limits by requiring that council tries to find the best possible solution with resources available, however it has included a sum of $50,000 to be used on coastal protection and repairs in the Annual Plan.

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

COASTAL STRATEGY: From left, Crs Bill Kingan and Melanie Tavendale, with assets group manager Neil Jorgensen, survey the slip which occurred on the coastal road north of Kakanu in May.