Living on unsealed roads

What maintenance happens on our rural roads?

There are over 1,000 kilometres of unsealed roads in the Waitaki district. We spend about $1 million each year maintaining them. This includes regular grading and the application of new metal and drainage maintenance, signage and vegetation control.

Why don't we see the grader all year round?

There are certain times of the year when grading has the greatest benefit on unsealed roads. The best time to restore the shape of the road by heavy maintenance grading is when the road is damp as it will compact the road to a dense surface. Spring and autumn are ideal times. Grading in winter is avoided where possible as it invariably results in slushy conditions that are unsafe for motorists and take a long time to dry out. Grading in mid-summer is avoided as cutting into a dry hard surface leaves a layer of loose material that reduces to dust and can be blown away or get thrown off by traffic. Corrugations will reappear more easily on dry, loose surfaces.

How does Council's service provider know that a road requires grading?

Regular inspections are carried out by Council's contractor on the entire roading network to identify and repair problems of wear and tear such as corrugations and potholes. Weather and traffic volume continually cause deterioration on unsealed roads.

What material is used as metal on an unsealed road?

Wherever possible, the material used is an aggregate with high clay content. This aggregate is chosen because of its higher resistance to rutting and corrugation and it also creates less dust. When compacted into the surface of the higher clay content it may appear that there is not enough metal on the road.

Why is my road not being sealed?

It costs $140,000 to $160,000 to seal a kilometre of metal road. Council will only commit to this expense where it can attract subsidies from the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to offset the cost of reconstructing and sealing a metal road. This subsidy depends on traffic volumes, the variety of traffic, significance of the route, how many people live along it and the likely dust problem.

Does Council audit maintenance work to determine if the levels of service are being met?

Council's maintenance contract specifies strict performance measures and these are closely monitored to ensure the contractor is meeting the necessary outcomes and within certain timeframes. An extraordinary event such as storm damage that requires an emergency response may temporarily disrupt the programmed maintenance schedule.

I have a specific enquiry. Who do I contact?

Please call us on 03 433 0300 or email