Hauraki Plains road users are set to get a smoother ride in the future as a $2.8 million facelift is upcoming after record-setting low rainfall caused cracking and slumping damage to roads.
Hauraki Plains roads are built on unique, moisture-sensitive soils made up of organics, marine muds and clay and about 44 per cent (230km) of the roads in the Hauraki district are built on these soils, largely on the Hauraki Plains. The drought didn't affect roads in other areas of the district as markedly because they are built on different soils.
Most roads on the Plains were damaged to some extent, so Hauraki District Council assessed the worst damaged sections that presented a safety threat and have fixed those immediately. Council waited to repair other local roads on the Plains until after winter 2020 to allow ground moisture levels to 'normalise'.
With a co-funding agreement with Waka Kohati NZ Transport Agency, Hauraki District have been able to agree a $2.8m facelift for the roads, funded mainly by NZTA.
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The work will take place over two construction seasons (i.e. over a two-year period) as a Second Coat seal, which provides a thick durable surfacing layer, can only be applied after the First Coat has received some trafficking, ideally within a year of the initial repairs.
Council's share of about $787K will be spread across the 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years.
Council is warning motorists to drive safely over the holidays as some surfaces will feel uneven, and are asking drivers to keep both hands on the wheel so they are prepared for any unexpected movement from the wheels of their car or bike.
There will be various road construction crews out and about, so be prepared to slow down or stop.
Drivers also need to expect the unexpected on rural roads – tractors, ducks, pheasants, hares and even livestock can take them by surprise.