Waerenga-o-Kuri residents say roads not safe

‘Terrifying’ near-misses.

‘Terrifying’ near-misses.

File pictue

AS a Waerenga-o-Kuri woman drove around a corner, an approaching forestry truck going too fast slid across the centre line and caused her to nearly veer off the road, a community meeting heard last night.

She shook so badly she had to pull over, vomit and call her husband to calm herself down.

Similar incidents happened regularly, along with her household waking up at 2.30am each morning as the forestry trucks began using the roads, she said.

This was the reality for Waerenga-o-Kuri residents — dealing with narrow roads, ongoing maintenance issues and an increase in forestry trucks, a Gisborne District Council “cuppa” community meeting last night at Waerenga-o-Kuri hall was told.

“It is terrifying driving on roads this bad,” the woman said.

“You cannot dodge the potholes because they are so big. You go over to your side of the road as far as you can go, with trucks speeding around corners.”

About a dozen people recounted similar stories.

Many carried chainsaws and shovels in their vehicles to deal with fallen trees and slips covering the roads.

RFS system 'broken'

The council’s request for service (RFS) system was “broken”, said one resident.

There were slips that had cones around them for months, even years, waiting to be fixed.

One resident lodged an RFS about an area of road that had 25 potholes. It took four weeks to get somebody out and they still did not fix the problem.

“These were not even after significant events.”

Another resident spoke of how a slip had blocked a drain, cones were put around it, and later water pooled under the road and caused potholes to form.

“The same thing is coming up month after month, year after year.

“Any fixes are minor, just enough to get through the surface but not actually repair it.

“We are sick of ringing up for a problem to be fixed.”

Reconsider rural roadmen?

Several residents called for the council to reconsider rural roadmen because they saw issues with the current road maintenance system.

The council needed an expert on the roads all the time, checking and to plan further ahead.

One resident saw a contractor driving towards a tree blocking the road. She asked if he was there to clear it.

“He told her, ‘No, this is not the tree I was called for’.”

Chairman of the residents association Mark Candy said many repair jobs were “token gestures”.

“Are they instructed to do the bare minimum?”

The major concern was safety. They had three community-owned school buses and they were all experiencing major issues getting through the roads.

Some buses carried chainsaws to cut through trees and branches and others had to call in farmers to help out.

“Why are there not contractors instructed to go through and clear the roads properly?” asked Mr Candy.

In areas with narrow roads, slips and potholes, it was “hideously dangerous”.

Many of the issues were on Bushy Knoll Road.

'Ridiculous' works done

Mr Candy said work done in one area where contractors had installed two culverts was “ridiculous”.

“A child with a plastic digger could have done a better job. It is like a third- world job.”

Ben Williams of Logic Forest Solutions said they knew how dangerous it was for everyone living on Parikanapa Road.

There had been one serious accident and many near misses.

His company was doing about eight truckloads a day at present, but in two years when they began to harvest a 1000ha block, it would increase to 15 to 20 trucks.

Mr Candy said forestry was already paying for its road usage.

“They have paid their way. When is that money going to go into fixing the mess?”

Council staff, Mayor Meng Foon and Waipaoa ward councillor Graeme Thomson said they were all disappointed to hear the roading issues.

“It is not just a few potholes,” said Mr Thomson.

“We are going to have to do this differently. It is an issue we cannot ignore.”

Tairawhiti Roads general manager David Hadfield said the poor repair jobs “should not happen”.

“It is just not on. It should be sorted out.

“We want to make a difference.”

Mr Hadfield said there were about 100 roads in the district with similar problems.

Contractors could manage risk with their contracts, which was why some left trees and smaller potholes, which could be up to 150 millimetres deep.

Tairawhiti Roads would put this information on their website so people knew the level of service to expect.

AS a Waerenga-o-Kuri woman drove around a corner, an approaching forestry truck going too fast slid across the centre line and caused her to nearly veer off the road, a community meeting heard last night.

She shook so badly she had to pull over, vomit and call her husband to calm herself down.

Similar incidents happened regularly, along with her household waking up at 2.30am each morning as the forestry trucks began using the roads, she said.

This was the reality for Waerenga-o-Kuri residents — dealing with narrow roads, ongoing maintenance issues and an increase in forestry trucks, a Gisborne District Council “cuppa” community meeting last night at Waerenga-o-Kuri hall was told.

“It is terrifying driving on roads this bad,” the woman said.

“You cannot dodge the potholes because they are so big. You go over to your side of the road as far as you can go, with trucks speeding around corners.”

About a dozen people recounted similar stories.

Many carried chainsaws and shovels in their vehicles to deal with fallen trees and slips covering the roads.

RFS system 'broken'

The council’s request for service (RFS) system was “broken”, said one resident.

There were slips that had cones around them for months, even years, waiting to be fixed.

One resident lodged an RFS about an area of road that had 25 potholes. It took four weeks to get somebody out and they still did not fix the problem.

“These were not even after significant events.”

Another resident spoke of how a slip had blocked a drain, cones were put around it, and later water pooled under the road and caused potholes to form.

“The same thing is coming up month after month, year after year.

“Any fixes are minor, just enough to get through the surface but not actually repair it.

“We are sick of ringing up for a problem to be fixed.”

Reconsider rural roadmen?

Several residents called for the council to reconsider rural roadmen because they saw issues with the current road maintenance system.

The council needed an expert on the roads all the time, checking and to plan further ahead.

One resident saw a contractor driving towards a tree blocking the road. She asked if he was there to clear it.

“He told her, ‘No, this is not the tree I was called for’.”

Chairman of the residents association Mark Candy said many repair jobs were “token gestures”.

“Are they instructed to do the bare minimum?”

The major concern was safety. They had three community-owned school buses and they were all experiencing major issues getting through the roads.

Some buses carried chainsaws to cut through trees and branches and others had to call in farmers to help out.

“Why are there not contractors instructed to go through and clear the roads properly?” asked Mr Candy.

In areas with narrow roads, slips and potholes, it was “hideously dangerous”.

Many of the issues were on Bushy Knoll Road.

'Ridiculous' works done

Mr Candy said work done in one area where contractors had installed two culverts was “ridiculous”.

“A child with a plastic digger could have done a better job. It is like a third- world job.”

Ben Williams of Logic Forest Solutions said they knew how dangerous it was for everyone living on Parikanapa Road.

There had been one serious accident and many near misses.

His company was doing about eight truckloads a day at present, but in two years when they began to harvest a 1000ha block, it would increase to 15 to 20 trucks.

Mr Candy said forestry was already paying for its road usage.

“They have paid their way. When is that money going to go into fixing the mess?”

Council staff, Mayor Meng Foon and Waipaoa ward councillor Graeme Thomson said they were all disappointed to hear the roading issues.

“It is not just a few potholes,” said Mr Thomson.

“We are going to have to do this differently. It is an issue we cannot ignore.”

Tairawhiti Roads general manager David Hadfield said the poor repair jobs “should not happen”.

“It is just not on. It should be sorted out.

“We want to make a difference.”

Mr Hadfield said there were about 100 roads in the district with similar problems.

Contractors could manage risk with their contracts, which was why some left trees and smaller potholes, which could be up to 150 millimetres deep.

Tairawhiti Roads would put this information on their website so people knew the level of service to expect.

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Darrel Timpany - 1 month ago
The solution to prevent speed-related accidents involving logging trucks in the Canadian forestry industry was efficiently handled by drivers having to call/log in departure times when either departing for picking up and/or delivering logs to the mill. Drive times based on safe road speeds were established. If the trucks arrived early, or were found parked waiting to deliver or pick up logs, the "driver and company" were issued an infraction notice. If the "driver" was caught again he would not be permitted to operate trucks associated with the forestry companies, and the companies themselves would incur penalties as well as losing their forestry contracts due to unsafe operating practices.

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