Twenty-three rural Bay roads to be sealed

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Western Bay District Council  will seal 23 unsealed rural roads within five years. Photo/File
Western Bay District Council will seal 23 unsealed rural roads within five years. Photo/File

Twenty-three rural roads in the Western Bay of Plenty have been selected for seal extensions over the next four to five years.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council has reviewed the way it prioritises rural roads for sealing and councillors adopted the new criteria, which puts more weight on traffic volume, today.

Under the new criteria 23 unsealed roads have been prioritised for seal extensions between 2016 and 2021, totalling 30km.

The council approved $3.5m for seal extensions in this year's budget, which was expected to fund the sealing of 12.5km of roads over the next 12 months - ticking off the first six roads in the revised list.

These are: Wright Rd, Maniatutu Rd, Roydon Downs Rd, Leyland Rd, Allport Rd, and Soldiers Rd.

Under the policy, unsealed roads with more than 50 vehicle movements per day qualified for resealing. There was 83.6km of gravel roads in the district carrying 50 or more vehicles per day.

There are a further 100km of unsealed roads that did not qualify.

Since 1997 unsealed roads have been prioritised by dust, traffic volume, benefit costs and impact on earnings).

Under the amended criteria, the council increased the traffic volume weighting and reduced the weighting on dust, benefit costs and impact on earnings.

Mayor Ross Paterson said the amended criteria and revised priority list would give residents on those roads certainty of the programme.

"Rural residents made it clear to us that they wanted the seal priority list to be reviewed because they didn't think we had it quite right.

"That's what we have done - and while we cannot please everyone, I am confident we have got the formula as fair as possible.

"The 30km of roads we will do over the next four to five years takes out those roads with the most traffic and the most dust."

The list was still subject to outside factors, such as landowner agreements and earthwork requirements, which could impact the order roads were sealed.

Rural residents still had the ability to privately fund seal extensions by 50 per cent to elevate their road's position in the seal extension programme.

The list of roads under the revised seal extension criteria can be viewed here.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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