Local Roads Now Poor Cousins


The Contractors’ Federation has warned that local roads must not become a “poor relation” compared to state highways.

Federation Chief Executive Jeremy Sole says as an example, “ many roads in Southland, constructed to low specifications in the 1960s, are now falling apart, partly due to increasingly intensive logging and dairy activity.

“If these local and rural roads continue to deteriorate then transport costs will increase, not least through increased wear and tear on vehicles, and the cost of transport to aggregation points will increase exponentially.”

He was referring to this week’s announcement of the new State Highway classification system which he said the federation is supportive of as it offers great potential to target safety and maintenance issues.

But he says it’s also important to focus on contribution to GDP as well as traffic volumes and in this respect it is essential to keep up maintenance of the local roads which enable primary products to reach main routes.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce said this week that the classification system showed that a small number of highways carry the bulk of traffic and highlighted the  social and economic importance of ensuring the key parts of the network in highest demand are upgraded.

“Some local roads are also significant contributors to the country’s GDP with domestic and export products from farm and forest travelling over them and it’s important the value of that contribution is recognised when classifying roads,” said Mr Sole.



  1. KarlHansen says:

    It’s a bit like tarting up your front entrance, but letting the building’s services and facilities decay.

    Sure, most people will come in through the front door, but just wait until the rest crumbles enough, and you have a BIG problem - one that even the nice lobby can’t hide anymore.

    This is especially so as in roading, a “stitch in time” REALLY saves ten. Maintenance issues need to be handled now, or roads quickly degrade, and then you are left with costly rebuilds.

    Good on the contractors raising the issue. It’s also about fairness in contracting - Joyce’s highway projects favour the big international construction companies, while there’s no money left for the small and medium guys who might work on your local road. Another way this government - not intentionally, but clearly without any feelings of guilt! - funnels money and skills out of our economy.

  2. George D says:

    Roads _feel_ like they’re getting worse, potholes opening up. No idea if that’s true or not, but in a couple of years we’ll be sure.

  3. Chris says:

    yes, 100km/h on local roads would suit me nicely


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