Five unsealed Far North roads are to collectively undergo $1 million of sealing, funded entirely by ratepayers.
Normally, new sealing attracts a subsidy from the NZ Transport Agency, but the agency's criteria are very strict, and many unsealed roads don't reach the required threshold, so last year the Far North District Council voted to spend $1 million of its own funds each year for the next 10 years on seal extensions when it adopted its long-term plan 2018-28.
Councillors decided in December which roads would get seal extensions this year.
Contracts were awarded in January, and work is scheduled for completion before June.
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Mayor John Carter said the roads had been chosen using a priority matrix developed for the 2019 budget allocation. Decisions were based on the presence of schools, marae, health centres and sports facilities. High levels of forestry traffic and dust, the number of homes, number of complaints received and whether roads were used as detour routes were also taken into account.
"For future allocations, we will ask the Northland Transportation Alliance to independently develop a prioritisation matrix that compares roading needs district-wide," Mr Carter said, adding the council understood that sealing was a priority for many residents.
"Like them, I would like to see all the district's roads sealed. Unfortunately, the financial burden for ratepayers would be crippling, adding up to $14,000 to each rates bill. In the meantime, this programme of unsubsidised road sealing will bring some relief to families living on roads that just fall short of NZTA funding criteria."
The sealing programme for 2018/19 was: Okahu Rd (done). Fairburn Rd, RAPID numbers 9028 to 10327; Pawarenga Rd, 200m at RAPID number 1207; Otangaroa Rd, RAPID numbers 6006 to 6284; Punakitere Loop Rd, RAPID numbers 3060 to 3160, 4685 to 5035.