Work on Wairoa’s weather damaged roading network can now move up a notch following confirmation of nearly $26 million in emergency works funding from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
And, while the Wairoa District Council is happy with the support it has received so far, it is still hoping for additional ‘bespoke’ funding to reinstate the district.
The $25.65 million represents 95% of the expected cost of restoring the district’s roading network.
Mayor Craig Little said that still means Council need to pay around $1.35m, being it’s 5% contribution. “We have made application to the Waka Kotahi Board for bespoke funding for 100% of the work and are waiting to hear whether our application has been approved.
“We are very appreciative of the 95% commitment from Waka Kotahi and are particularly mindful that Wairoa, because of its geography, isolation, and vastness, receives a higher funding assistance rate than many other areas in New Zealand.
“We are very happy with the way the process has run so far. We have had a great working relationship with Waka Kotahi over the application for this emergency works funding and the fact their staff have been on the ground visiting our district and seen first-hand the extensive damage that has occurred has been really helpful. Waka Kotahi has also acknowledged that Wairoa has one of the most challenging roading networks in New Zealand with 871 km of roading and 561km of this unsealed.
“There is a lot of roading work needed around the whole country following a wet winter with a massive amount of rainfall and related damage. We are fortunate that Waka Kotahi acknowledges Wairoa’s challenges and the fact that we need assistance, and we optimistically hope they will look at our bespoke funding application favourably.”
Waka Kotahi Regional Manager Maintenance and Operations Jaclyn Hankin says Waka Kotahi is pleased to be able to give the Wairoa District the funding security to rebuild their network.
“Waka Kotahi is acutely aware of the significant impact the damage has had, and is continuing to have, on communities in the Wairoa District.
“We recognise how much the people and businesses that call Wairoa home rely on these local road connections and we look forward to continuing to work with Wairoa District Council to support its repair and recovery programme.”
With 95% of the funding now locked in, procurement is likely to start next month and physical works as soon as it is dry enough, likely around the beginning of next year.
Key sites across Wairoa’s roading network have already been prioritised and designs are being progressed to ensure contractors can hit the ground running to repair the district’s roads as soon as the summer construction period begins.
Mr Little said while physical works have been limited over the wet winter period, staff have been planning and prioritising a response and working on design plans.
“Securing funding has been key to restoring our local roading network. Now that we know we know we have initial funding million we will be able to start our plan to move forward.”
Mr Little said the funding will also stimulate the Wairoa economy and provide employment opportunities.
The repair work is estimated to take place over the next three years and includes the repair to the Te Reinga Bridge, along with hundreds of slips and nearly 100 dropouts.
Click this link to see video produced by Waka Kotahi https://youtu.be/zp4ZlJYoEaU
12 September 2022
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