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Marlborough Roads Recovery – 3 November Update

Residents in parts of the Marlborough Sounds left isolated by July’s weather event have received an early Christmas present.

 A ray of sunshine for Sounds’ residents on a cloudy day – a picture of progress being made at “The Rock” on Kenepuru Road as roading repairs continue following the July storm

Photo Credit: Marlborough Roads

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett today welcomed the news from Marlborough Roads* confirming ‘controlled access’ will be in place by Tuesday November 30 for the full length of the Kenepuru Road, including all side roads, badly impacted by the 17 July storm. The Awatere Valley Road to Molesworth Station will also be open for a specified period before Christmas into the New Year.

“We know it has been extremely hard for our Sounds’ and Awatere Valley communities and this is really good news. I want to thank them for the resilience and patience they have shown while the roading recovery team have put in the hard yards to make this happen,” said Mayor Leggett.

“The work to first assess and then begin the repair of the roads has been complex, it has required considerable geotechnical expertise and it has had to be done without compromising the safety of road users, residents and roading crews. This has been a massive event for our region to recover from,” he said.

The Marlborough Roads Recovery Team (MRRT) has been working hard to restore access to Sounds communities and rebuild badly damaged valley roads in Marlborough since the devastating storm.

As well as specific access progress for Kenepuru Sound residents and their visitors and a summer open period for Awatere Valley Road, Marlborough Roads has released an updated “high level programme of access” for all the roads in the region affected by the July storm.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency System Manager, Top of the South, Andrew James said the team had engaged with residents and road users to understand their needs, and developed a programme that enables safe access, where possible.

“Providing safe access for residents is a priority for us. We want to make sure that the people who really need access can get it safely, while we keep on rebuilding the severely damaged roads,” Mr James said.

“Opening the roads up needs to be done gradually, so that works can continue at a steady pace, and people are kept safe. We are now able to outline what this delivery programme looks like over the coming summer months.”

The first step is for Kenepuru residents to have controlled access for the full length of the Kenepuru Road from Tuesday, 30 November, he said.

“Controlled access does mean a number of constraints on the length of vehicle and if it has a heavy commercial vehicle permit. The existing residents' permit system will continue with enforcement at manned entry gates, but we are really pleased to be able to give more residents a way through the whole road.”

“People need to check the details around the controlled access to parts of Kenepuru Road in the programme – for example that residents can pick up visitors at the checkpoints but visitors cannot drive their own vehicles in yet.”

“We’re also pleased to be able to open the Awatere Valley Road for restricted public access from 22 December to 16 January. While this is only for a short period, we hope it will make for a more relaxed holiday season for the valley community, as well as relieve some of the pressure for tourism operators on this iconic road through Molesworth Station,” said Mr James.

Enabling full public access on Kenepuru Road will be reviewed in the first quarter of 2022, he said.

“We’re aware that there may be some disappointment around the short-term outlook for unrestricted public access on Kenepuru Road, but we’ve made these decisions with public and residents’ safety in mind, and also the safety and efficiency of our work crews working on the ground.”

“As everyone knows, the July storm did a significant amount of damage to some roads, and we still have a lot of earth to shift, but we are making progress and we thank the affected communities and wider Marlborough people for their ongoing support and patience,” Mr James said.

For the latest works programme go to: MRRT High Level Programme of Access 2 November 2021

In the Marlborough Sounds, work will stop over the Christmas period to give crews a well-earned break and allow them to spend time with their families.

“The roading crews have earned that rest. The men and women who are working hard on our Sounds’ roads to connect our residents deserve a special thanks for their efforts – they are doing a great job,” said Mayor Leggett.

Support will also continue to be provided from the Council to Sounds’ residents while road restrictions remain in place.

“The barge and water taxi service subsidies that the Council has set up will continue until the road restrictions are removed,” said the Council’s Recovery Manager, Dean Heiford.

He said the service was in high demand and encouraged people to book early to avoid disappointment, particularly with the summer holiday season fast approaching. “Try not to leave your arrangements to the last minute – that will help our providers be best placed to get you where you need to go. Thank you to the providers who have stepped up to the challenge and who have been prepared to work collaboratively to make this happen.”

The Council’s July Storm Recovery Navigator Charlotte Woods is here to assist with access to services and support information. Charlotte can be contacted by email on recovery@marlborough.govt.nz or by cell phone: 027 213 0341.

However, for roading specific questions please email recovery@marlboroughroads.com or call them on 03 520 8024 or 0800 213 213 between 8.00 am - 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday.

Further Information

Anyone who needs support as a result of the July storm should contact the Council at recovery@marlborough.govt.nz

For the latest project updates from the Marlborough Roads Recovery Team go to the dedicated page for the roading recovery here: www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/marlborough-roads-recovery

For the latest road status before you start your journey, please visit the Marlborough Emergency Management Official Public Information Map: https://bit.ly/CDEM-Map

To stay up to date on the latest roading alerts, go to: https://bit.ly/RoadingAlertsMarl

For Resident’s Pass or Essential Service Pass information go to: https://bit.ly/RoadToRecoveryMarl

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