Empower road workers to fix problems

LETTER

I read with interest the front-page article on roads in the district in Saturday’s Gisborne Herald.

At times I wonder who is making the decisions about road maintenance and repair in outlying parts of the district.

From what I have heard during my 30 years in forestry, road management is all about water management. If you can keep the rainwater off the road so it can’t puddle, flow or undermine the road, you have most of the battle won.

Putting another layer of metal on top, as suggested in the article, is not the answer. If the subsurface cannot lock the metal into the structured substrate, putting more metal on top is going to push through the mud. It just disappears.

In the forestry sector we actually use water to aid with the compaction of the road subsurface during construction inside the forest boundary. Generally speaking our internal forestry roads can and do stay open every day of the year to the same heavy traffic. It’s all about doing it once and doing it right.

It’s not to say that we don’t have the odd problem area to deal with. But deal with it we do, often acting quickly in the same day or hour.

I can’t help but feel there are too many chains of command in the district’s road maintenance contracts.

Empowering the person responsible on the coalface to act on the issue, before it becomes a major problem, is more likely to get a cheaper long-term result that lasts the tests of time and environment.

I understand that contract roading staff out in vehicles are asked to report on problems. This goes to their superior, before they are permitted to shift any metal or repair any damage. It comes back to costs and money assigned to repair needing to be justified, and all taking a lot of time to do so — which in turn promotes further damage.

In the meantime Rome burns. Or, as another saying goes, A stitch in time saves nine.

EroadING Responsibility

I read with interest the front-page article on roads in the district in Saturday’s Gisborne Herald.

At times I wonder who is making the decisions about road maintenance and repair in outlying parts of the district.

From what I have heard during my 30 years in forestry, road management is all about water management. If you can keep the rainwater off the road so it can’t puddle, flow or undermine the road, you have most of the battle won.

Putting another layer of metal on top, as suggested in the article, is not the answer. If the subsurface cannot lock the metal into the structured substrate, putting more metal on top is going to push through the mud. It just disappears.

In the forestry sector we actually use water to aid with the compaction of the road subsurface during construction inside the forest boundary. Generally speaking our internal forestry roads can and do stay open every day of the year to the same heavy traffic. It’s all about doing it once and doing it right.

It’s not to say that we don’t have the odd problem area to deal with. But deal with it we do, often acting quickly in the same day or hour.

I can’t help but feel there are too many chains of command in the district’s road maintenance contracts.

Empowering the person responsible on the coalface to act on the issue, before it becomes a major problem, is more likely to get a cheaper long-term result that lasts the tests of time and environment.

I understand that contract roading staff out in vehicles are asked to report on problems. This goes to their superior, before they are permitted to shift any metal or repair any damage. It comes back to costs and money assigned to repair needing to be justified, and all taking a lot of time to do so — which in turn promotes further damage.

In the meantime Rome burns. Or, as another saying goes, A stitch in time saves nine.

EroadING Responsibility

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