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Smoother Roads As Leaders Sign On To Roadshare

Media Release

Smoother Roads As Utility Industry Leaders
Sign On To Roadshare

Embargoed until 7pm 3 March 2004
New Zealand road users can expect smoother roads as key players in the utilities sector and local government today, Wednesday, 3 March 2004, signed a Charter of Understanding at Parliament Buildings, Wellington, committing them to work together for the better management of New Zealand’s roading corridor.

The charter signing ceremony was hosted by the Minister of Communications, (and former Minister of Transport), The Honourable Paul Swain.

The charter, an initiative by the New Zealand Utilities Advisory Group (NZUAG), records the commitment of key players in the gas, telecommunication, electricity, water supply and waste water industries along with major metropolitan councils, Transit New Zealand and industry bodies to work together in the road for the benefit of their customers, road users and communities.

The founding signatories agreed to be committed to work together, achieve efficiencies, work toward technological excellence and be committed to their communities.

The event also launches RoadShare. RoadShare provides councils and network utility service providers with tools and best practice guidelines for many aspects of managing utilities in the roading corridor with the aim of achieving national consistency. .

Speaking at the event, the Minister said the solution to better management of utilities in the road is compromise and co-operation.

“We need better co-operation between utilities to reduce the number of times the road is dug up. And we need better co-operation between utilities and road owners to ensure trenching is carried out before a road is resealed not immediately afterwards,” he said.

He congratulated the NZUAG for the collaborative work they had achieved in their two years of existence.

“They have been working on an important range of projects to achieve a good balance between all the competing interests. “

“These projects known as RoadShare demonstrate what is possible when stakeholders take seriously the need for compromise and cooperation,” he said.

Summaries of the RoadShare projects are as follows:

A Model Partnering Agreement that ties together the RoadShare Guidelines. It provides a framework for parties to work together to achieve mutually agreed outcomes in the best interests of each organisation. This agreement can be downloaded from NZUAG’s website, www.nzuag.org.nz.

NZUAG’s next stage is for road controlling authorities and utility companies throughout New Zealand to sign the agreements in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration. In doing so, they commit to working together at a local level, adopting the best practice standards to achieve an efficient and well-managed roading network.

The Code of Practice for Working in the Road Handbook: One of the first projects completed under the RoadShare banner, this handbook was published by Standards New Zealand in association with NZUAG and key stakeholders.

The new code of practice, outlined in the handbook, will encourage a co-ordinated approach and a quality outcome, which at the same time aims to be fair and equitable to all stakeholders. The document focuses on co-ordinating the technical operation of utilities in the road corridor and includes reference to excavation, backfill, surface reinstatement, materials, quality assurance, safety of works, traffic management and the management of the environmental effects of construction.

The Code of Practice, as it is implemented, will provide all utility providers with a set of minimum standards nationally ultimately protecting all the stakeholders’ interests and assets.

Minimum Standards of Competency for Contractors Working in the Road: This ongoing project seeks to ensure that all those who work in the road are competent to do so. InfraTrain, an ITO for the civil contracting sector has developed a National Certificate in Road Opening. The aim of this qualification is to ensure all contractors working in the road are competent to do so.

Promoting Best Practice in District Plans: This RoadShare guideline entitled, Network Utilities Within the Road Corridor: The Role of the Resource Management Act: A Guide to Best Practice has just been published. It provides a model set of district plan objectives and rules for management of network utilities in the road corridor. These guidelines address the amenity values in the district plans. By promoting consistency in all district plans, they hope to minimise the local differences.

Lifeline Utilities and Planning for Emergencies: The development of a best practice guide for lifeline utilities, produced by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management ensure utilities have robust contingency and continuity plans in the event of a civil defence emergency.

Information Sharing – Locating Utilities in the Road: The project promotes the development of an integrated GIS system where local authority and utility asset information can be accessed, as well as road opening notifications and other related data-e-business@work for infrastructures.

Valuing Utilities: A set of guidelines to promote a nationally consistent valuation approach is currently being developed.

Consistent Legislation: NZUAG has developed proposals for legislative change that will provide a consistent formula between different utilities legislation. Specifically these relate to whom and when should be notified when giving notice of work to be carried out, and what reasonable conditions of access road owners and utility operators may place on those seeking access to the road reserve.

More information on NZUAG and a detailed account of each project, and associated guidelines, can be downloaded from NZUAG’s website, www.nzuag.org.nz.

Ends

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