Clutha drivers have expressed "fury'' over apparent council inaction, as reports of multiple punctures on coarse rural gravel continue to emerge.
On August 16, the Otago Daily Times revealed the experiences of Clinton rural postwoman Megan Pope, who had received eight punctures on her 100km unsealed rural beat during the preceding fortnight.
Pope said she had received another puncture since, yet had seen "no action'' to fix the problem on her run.
Following the story, several other drivers contacted the ODT via social media and in person, to relay similar experiences on South Otago's rural roads.
Among them was Kaka Point nurse and horse owner Raewyn Snell, who said she had received five punctures since early August, when coarser gravel was first laid on the road she used to reach her animals.
"I travel [Port Molyneux Rd] at least twice a day to see my horses, and have never had any problems before. Then all of a sudden it's puncture after puncture. You can see from the piece the garage removed from my tyre what it's like. It's infuriating.''
Snell said costs were building up, including for a more powerful jack her husband had bought her, in anticipation of further punctures.
"It's not just that; it's the inconvenience. Then there are safety worries for the school buses and tourists who use the road. And what if you're stuck out there changing a tyre at dusk?''
A former Clutha roading contractor, who asked not to be named, said the gravel being applied appeared to be "AP65'' grade - more typically used as roading base.
Once it had been compressed, either by contractors or road users, a finer, "AP40'' grade would usually be applied, he said.
"When I saw [the story] I thought, 'Why the hell have they metalled the road with that?'. Occasionally it's applied as top if a harder wear for trucks is needed, or if it's a particularly wet area, but usually it's just base metal.''
He believed any such technical decisions would be dictated by the council, not contractors.
Snell said council contractors inspecting the road had given her a similar account.
"It's as if we the public are being expected to roll the road before the council fixes it properly. Why on earth should it be our responsibility to make it safe? It sounds like a cost-cutting exercise to me.''
Clutha District Council operations manager Gareth Phillips said his team invested "a lot of effort'' in appropriate gravel selection.
"Road metal is often rejected, re-screened or re-crushed to ensure the most consistent particulate blend and rock hardness.''
In some locations an even finer "AP25'' grade was used over AP65 as "running course'', but several factors could leave coarser gravel exposed, including heavy vehicle use, and "excessive speed''.
Phillips said the council had invited road structure and material experts to visit the area to "assess our approach to road maintenance''.