Summer Road Grading Season Gets Underway

The summer grading season will soon be underway in the Mackenzie District.

Nearly two-thirds of the district’s roads (71%) are rural roads and 519 km of these roads are unsealed, so grading is a critical job to keep the roads in good order.

“Over the summer, while we’ll continue with our standard maintenance grading, we’ll also increase our grading cycle on our busier roads,” says Mackenzie District Council Roading Manager, Scott McKenzie.

The increase in traffic numbers over the summer period on roads such as Hayman and Haldon Roads means they need to be graded more frequently to be kept in a good condition.

“Our goal is to have every road safely driveable at 70km an hour. The tourist traffic on some of our roads, such as Lilybank Road, has increased dramatically over the past few years and this means these roads servicing these tourist routes require additional attention,” Mr McKenzie says.

Traditionally the Mackenzie District has had low-volume rural traffic on unsealed roads typically of less than 500 vehicles per day, however changing land use patterns and the impact of tourism numbers are now influencing traffic volumes and amount of maintenance required.

Some of the district’s rural roads have experienced more than a two-fold increase in traffic numbers over recent summers.

For people living and working in rural locations, roads are a vital link to amenities and resources. For visitors, a good road is an important safety factor.

The level of maintenance carried out on a road is a prioritised, multifaceted decision based on factors such as: a road’s age, its risk of failure and current condition, the level of service needed by those who use it, available funding, land use changes and emergency response access requirements.

Usually every three months, the condition of roads is assessed by Council staff. Contractors and grader operators also provide regular feedback on road condition or changes in local land use.

Released: 20 November 2017

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