Improving the condition of Christchurch’s roads and footpaths is one of the top priorities for the Council. Today, Chief Executive Karleen Edwards explains what is planned.
As someone who lives and works in Christchurch, I share people’s frustrations at the poor state of some of our roads and footpaths. Having to navigate bumpy roads and cracked footpaths on a daily basis is an irritation we could all do without.
We have heard that message loud and clear and the Council has committed an unprecedented amount of money to try and improve the situation.
Before the earthquakes, we spent about $70 million a year, in today’s dollars, on maintaining, renewing and upgrading the city’s roads and footpaths.
In this current year, we will spend $86 million. This figure is likely to increase depending on an imminent announcement from NZTA on financial assistance rates
The SCIRT programme instigated after the earthquakes focused first and foremost on fixing the damage to our below ground infrastructure and to our most heavily used roads.
Unfortunately, the programme didn’t cover everything that needed to be repaired or rebuilt, which means across our city there are still many roads and footpaths that require work to bring them up to the standard we would all like.
As part of the Long Term Plan, we have rejigged our transport programme to free up more money to allow work to be done sooner on the worst condition roads and footpaths.
Things that we take into account when deciding which roads and footpaths should get fixed first include the volume of use they get, whether they are susceptible to flooding due to land drainage issues, whether delays in repairs will mean a significant increase in cost in the future or whether there are safety concerns.
Council staff have put together a programme of work, prioritised against criteria, but what I would like to see is our Community Boards actually helping us to ensure the priorities for their communities are also added into the selection process.
I want them to act as our link into the communities so that together we can decide which roads and footpaths are the most important and need fixing first.
We also plan to use the knowledge of our local communities to inform the work that needs to be done on Banks Peninsula.
Banks Peninsula has many rural and unsealed roads that need work done on them, but our funding constraints mean that realistically we can’t fix them all at once. Recent weather has also exacerbated the issues on the peninsula. We intend to set up a joint local working party to help us decide where we should focus our attention.
As we do this work, I want to make sure we take a co-ordinated approach and amalgamate projects where possible. I have signalled to staff that I don’t want us to be digging up a road more than once – I want us to do it once and do it right.