Residents of Whanganui and neighbouring districts will have to wait two years for SH4 through the Paraparas to be finished. Heavy rain and flooding in June of last year, caused more than 30 major slips along the highway, a route regularly used by logging trucks and heavy vehicles. Half of those slips are yet to be repaired.
Truck driver Colin Buckley said, “It’s a good drive, but it’s cut our travel time down by a good 20 minutes on some days due to the drop outs, slips and general hold ups. It all adds up at the end of the day.”
McCarthy Transport is among local firms that say after almost a year and a half, it’s not good enough.
McCarthy Transport Hub Manager Greg Wood said, “The current state that it’s in with all the slips and damage done to it, is costing our company an extra 12% alone in running costs, that’s to our bottom line. We can’t pass that on to our customers, we just can’t do it.”
New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) says they are working hard with geotechnical engineers to get the road repaired, however they face geological challenges such as working on the side of cliff faces that require more planning and safety measures.
Regional Highways manager Ross I’Anson said, “Geological conditions particularly working in the river make it very hard to just go in and form a repair so we have been doing a lot of geological testing and a lot of design work to ensure we are doing the right thing. To date in the Paraparas we have spent $8 million doing clean ups and repairs. And we have a further $27 million to go, so it’s big dollar values, it’s not something we can just do in a short period of time unfortunately.”
NZTA says all works will be completed by the end of June next year, two years after the damage was initially caused.