Farmer hopes for new access road

By laurel.stowell@wanganuichronicle.co.nz

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SOUND FOR NOW: The Limeworks Bridge on Waiinu Beach Rd was fixed after the 2015 flood.PHOTO/FILE
SOUND FOR NOW: The Limeworks Bridge on Waiinu Beach Rd was fixed after the 2015 flood.PHOTO/FILE

Nukumaru farmer David Pearce is hoping a new access road to Waiinu Beach will be built as soon as possible.

He's had to open up access to the beach and the Silver Fern Farms' Waitotara meatworks across his farm too many times because the Limeworks Bridge on the usual route down river from the Waitotara settlement has been out of action time and again.

It was damaged by floods in 2004, 2006 and 2015.

Last year's flood was especially bad for his dairy farm because it happened just before calving.

Allowing overland access during that time was very difficult, he said, and he was most unhappy about it.

He's also had to allow the public through when the bridge is closed for maintenance and when it's damaged by an accident.

When the meatworks is busy there are 350 staff and 10 to 15 trucks a day.

"It will happen again. The bridge is quite precarious the way it is at the moment."

A 6km alternative route from SH3 to the meatworks and beach settlement would avoid crossing the river altogether, making the bridge unnecessary.

Mr Pearce has offered the use of some of his land if it goes ahead, and a preliminary report has said it is the best option.

A meeting of stakeholders on Tuesday next week will be crucial for progressing it, South Taranaki District Council engineering services manager Brent Manning said.

Those invited represent landowners - including Whanganui District Council, and KiwiRail, the Nga Rauru iwi, Silver Fern Farms, beach residents, and a quarry business.

If they are favourable, a business case will have to be made for the road.

As a local authority road it could get partial funding from the New Zealand Transport Agency.

It would also need unbudgeted funding from South Taranaki District Council, which is already $9 million out of pocket after making flood repairs.

The latest proposal is to attach the new road to Nukumaru Station Rd.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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