25 Sep 2013

Trucks banned from unsealed roads

6:37 am on 25 September 2013

The Far North District Council has taken the unprecedented step of closing all its unsealed roads to logging trucks, as heavy rain continues.

The ban will also apply to trucks carrying gravel and rock into forestry areas to build new roads.

Council infrastructure manager Dave Penney said the council had closed one or two roads before in bad weather but this was the first time it had closed the entire network.

"Generally we've done it after the fact and often you're finding $500,000 to $1 million to repair damage that's already been caused," Mr Penney said.

"Effectively, this time, I have moved to try and prevent that and really to see that the user public, particularly the heavy transport users, well recognise that our network is not able to cope with heavy use in really wet and sodden conditions."

Mr Penney said the council did not have the money to fix the type of damage logging trucks could do in a short time on roads which were never built for heavy traffic.

Logging truck traffic was double what it was a few years ago, and a number of roads had been wrecked already this winter after weeks of rain, he said.

It may be possible to re-open the unsealed roads next week if forestry contractors comply with the ban but, if they don't, the council will take enforcement action.