Masterton council endorses hybrid road solution

8:41 pm on 10 November 2022
Mataikona Rd, coastal Masterton.

Mataikona Rd, coastal Masterton. Photo: Supplied / George Shiers

A hybrid solution for an eroding coastal road has been rubber-stamped by Masterton District Council.

Masterton's Mataikona Rd, which provides access to three settlements, Mataikona Station, and a number of farming and forestry properties, is increasingly under pressure from storm events and sea erosion.

Sections of the route are at risk of washing out entirely and isolating the community, a recent council report said.

"If the current ongoing maintenance and emergency work on Mataikona Rd were to stop, it is anticipated that sections of the road would be lost in less than a year, severing access."

At Wednesday's Masterton District Council meeting, elected members unanimously agreed to endorse a multifaceted solution and carry out a detailed business case.

The preferred option was a combination of realigning the road, increased maintenance, and road strengthening when and where it could be afforded.

This option would not have a cost estimate until a business case could be done, but an interim provisional sum of $10 million was allocated in the council's asset management plan and Long-Term Plan.

External funding would also be sought for the project once a detailed business case was completed.

Potential funding partners include Waka Kotahi, Ministry for the Environment, and farming and forestry operators.

A report from roading engineer Kane Jaquiery said to carry out the preferred option, the council must investigate opportunities for road retreat [realignment] and strengthening.

"Where realignment of the road is acceptable, a more detailed assessment of the purchase of affected properties will also be required," he said in his report.

"This may require partial or complete property purchases in some locations."

Mataikona Rd is a 13km long, mostly gravel road.

The northern end of the road connected with Pack Spur Rd, which extended 6km before it crossed into private land.

The council's roading programme has funded several temporary repair works in recent years, with varying degrees of success.

The small ratepayer base and low traffic volume of the road made it challenging to justify continued funding for repairs and upgrades, the council said.

Thorough engagement was held with stakeholders to develop a long list of options and to select the preferred option.

Councillor David Holmes said the community had been impressed with the way council had handled the situation.

"We're not particularly good at taking the community with us sometimes, but you've done a really good job out there.

"Keep it up because it's a big job, and we don't know what lies ahead of us."

Deputy mayor Bex Johnson congratulated council staff on the detailed report.

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