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It seems that with only the blink of an eye, another
long weekend has appeared and the tail end of the year is at our doorstep. This
Labour Day long weekend, I cannot stress enough how important it is that
everyone makes it home safe to their friends and families. A weekend away for
some rest and relaxation should not end in tragedy, but unfortunately this is a
message that needs to be repeated every time there is a surge of traffic on our
Keeping ourselves safe on the road is a community
effort involving agencies, government services and our own behaviour. From a
council perspective, our contractors are tasked with maintaining our vast
roading network (the third largest roading network in New Zealand) so that
people have a suitable and safe passage for their travels. While you might
think of the obvious road works council is responsible for, we actually look
after a range of activities that contribute to safe roads.
For instance, in the latest Fulton Hogan newsletter
(which is available on our website), our contractors replaced and reinstalled
road signs so that people have clear directions about what they are expected to
do or where they need to go; repaired culverts to divert water off road
surfaces; sprayed footpaths for lichen; and sprayed weeds along roadsides which,
when out of hand, can obstruct driver vision. This was in conjunction with
carrying out road markings, dig-outs, grading and repairing hundreds of
potholes and pavement failures.
When we are used to a certain standard of service or
product, sometimes we can forget just how different things would be if those services
were no longer carried out. Imagine, for instance, if there were no road signs
to tell you what speed was safe to travel at on a particular road, or if shaded
roads weren’t gritted during winter to prevent vehicles slipping on ice? These
are steps the Council takes to help keep people safe.
We are, of course referring to local roads not State
Highways. Those roads are looked after by the NZ Transport Agency, who also
subsidise some of our local work.
As our eyes and ears around the entire breadth of our
district, I urge you to please let us know if you come across something on our
roads that needs attention. Reporting the issue to us through the free Snap,
Send, Solve app helps us to remedy the situation as soon as possible so that we
can continue working to provide safe roads for the community.
Roads, particularly in our district are a fundamental
service that keep our lives, businesses and – on a higher level - our economy
moving. We unfortunately do not have the luxury of a well-developed public
transport service to get us from point A to point B. Wouldn’t it be wonderful
if we had a passenger train running between here and Christchurch or Timaru, or
perhaps buses that operated throughout the day to get you around town or
between our smaller townships? I would like to see this happen, but as with any
major project, these issues take a great deal of time, effort (and money) from
all agencies and organisations involved to make it a reality.
In the meantime, let’s look after the infrastructure
and services that we do have, and make sure we are doing everything we can to
remain safe when using them. In lieu of limited transport options available,
please take care on the road this long weekend. Stop for regular breaks, travel
to the conditions, be aware of other drivers and make sure you and your loved
ones return from your break safe. Have a happy and safe long weekend!