Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Broadband firm cops flak over shoddy path repairs

Chorus is unhappy at work carried out by a contractor on Bassett Rd, Parnell. Photo / Dean Purcell
Chorus is unhappy at work carried out by a contractor on Bassett Rd, Parnell. Photo / Dean Purcell

Auckland's shiny new footpaths, built at a cost of $120 million, are in danger of being patched up and left looking ugly again as a result of ultra-fast broadband being laid across the city.

Patch-up jobs are already appearing at Bassett Rd in Remuera and Jervois Rd in Herne Bay as contractors flout strict rules for reinstating footpaths after laying the new network.

High-level talks are taking place between broadband provider Chorus and Auckland Transport to try to resolve the issue in the early stages of an eight-year rollout affecting every road in Auckland.

Auckland Transport is insisting Chorus and its contractors stick to a national code and local rules which state that when they dig up part of a new section of footpath they must replace the entire section with the same finish as the original footpath.

This has not happened at Bassett Rd, where complete sections of concrete were laid on one side of the road but on the other side new concrete was poured only over the zig-zag line of a trench.

In Jervois Rd, contractors have laid new concrete over the 600mm trench, not the full 3m-wide footpath.

A spokesman for Auckland Transport said the council body had advised Chorus that the reinstatement of Jervois Rd was not satisfactory and should have been done to a better standard by now.

"A Chorus representative has advised us that they too were not happy with what has been done by their contractor on Bassett Rd," the spokesman said.

He believed Auckland Transport and Chorus had reached an agreement that new footpaths less than five years old would be replaced to the same standard.

"We are only seeking to have our footpath assets returned to us in the same condition as they were prior to the carrying out of the utility works," the spokesman said.

But a Chorus spokesman said it was still in discussion with Auckland Transport to address some of their requirements and "will continue to work with them as we build Auckland's new ultra-fast broadband network".

Ratepayers from the former Auckland City Council have invested about $120 million over the past eight years replacing old footpaths with new exposed aggregate concrete footpaths.

One source told the Herald that Auckland Transport, which issues consents to Chorus, could put further work on hold and that Chorus was considering its legal options.


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