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by Claire Allison

The Timaru District Council is beginning a $3million road resurfacing project this week, the first to benefit from a collaborative approach with neighbouring councils.

The project will involve the council resurfacing roads throughout the district over the spring and summer months.

The first projects to be done are those north of the Opihi River, including 14 roads in Temuka and Geraldine and another 10 rural roads.

Projects south of the Opihi, including Timaru, will be announced later in the year.

This contract is being undertaken as part of the Mid-South Canterbury roading collaboration.

With thousands of kilometres of roads between them and a ratings base of just over 55,000 people, the three South Canterbury councils – Mackenzie, Timaru and Waimate – are working to ensure a standardised, more efficient, more cost-effective and more collaborative approach to road maintenance across the districts.

This collaboration enabled the councils to tender their road resurfacing services as one large contract with standardised terms and specifications, rather than three small ones, removing duplication of work and enabling them to “bulk buy” services at a better cost.

“People are likely to see roading crews working throughout the district in the coming months . . .” – Andrew Dixon

Timaru District Council land transport manager Andrew Dixon said it was great to see this collaboration now benefiting ratepayers.

“It’s good to see the work we have been doing with our neighbouring councils, Waimate and Mackenzie, coming to fruition this year, with Timaru’s resurfacing project the first out of the gates,’ he said.

“Instead of the three roading departments working in relative isolation, this has enabled us to work collegially to ensure a more efficient, cost-effective and high-quality roading service for our residents.

“Standards-wise, having a peer group of staff from outside your department looking at the way you do things and suggesting better ways has enabled us to create a better collective contract than we would have had individually.

“The benefits are long-term and really underline the importance of collaboration between councils,” he said.

“People are likely to see roading crews working throughout the district in the coming months, and drivers need to do their bit to ensure our contractors get home safe every night.

“This means slowing down around roadworks and freshly sealed roads, following instructions from roading crews and being patient with any delays.”

Home owners on resealed streets are asked to look out for letterbox drops with more information and may need to ensure residents and visitors leave their shoes at the door to prevent bitumen tracking inside houses.

“We’ve got a relatively short window of opportunity to get the work done each year, so it can sometimes feel like there are roadworks everywhere, but programmed resurfacing work like this is key to ensuring smoother journeys for everyone,” Mr Dixon said.