Dust monitoring to start on infamous rural road

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Logging truck kicking up a trail of dust on Wright Road.
Logging truck kicking up a trail of dust on Wright Road.

Monitoring of dust particle levels will begin this week to test the effectiveness of sealed strips outside houses on a notoriously dusty Whangarei rural rd.

Whangarei District Council late last year sealed 10 strips of 100m outside homes on Wright, McCardle and Pipiwai Roads to try to alleviate problems with dust from logging trucks that has been plaguing the residents.

The council allocated $400,000 over the next two years for the sealing after the New Zealand Transport Agency declined a $4.5 million funding request for a full 9km seal of Wright Rd and McCardle Rd. Since the work is expected to cost $532,000, the council asked logging and trucking industries to make up the $132,000 shortfall.

The council is also paying for air quality monitoring equipment to monitor how effective the sealing works have been on Wright Rd, with the testing to start this week.

Wright Rd resident and Pipiwai Titoki Advocacy for Community Health and Safety Group spokeswoman Alex Wright said the residents were happy the dust particle testing would be carried out, but wanted to make sure it was a comprehensive survey that captured the information over a number of weeks and in different conditions.

"If it's been raining the dust isn't too bad, but if it's dry then there is a lot of dust flying around and we want to make sure its tested under all conditions," Ms Wright said.

"At this stage, we're not sure exactly how long the testing will be done for, but we need to have a true representation of the dust cloud monitoring that we know is present on fine days."

She said ultimately the residents wanted the roads fully sealed - something they had been campaigning over for a number of years - as the dust was a health hazard.

Results from PM10 (particles' micron size) tests will be used to determine how much of a health hazard the dust is around the homes that have had the strips sealed in front of them.

- Northern Advocate

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