Roading & Transportation

One of Council’s roles is to manage the district’s transportation activity and provide a road and pedestrian network that allows for the safe, reliable, efficient and effective movement of vehicles and people, predominantly supporting a range of rural and primary industry activities. Tararua District Council own and manage;

  • A vehicular network, comprised of 1,185km of sealed roads, 773km of unsealed roads and 503 bridges and large culverts
  • A pedestrian network, comprised of 111km of footpaths
  • Enabling infrastructure, including:
    • 1,856km of stormwater channels and drains (mainly shallow, unlined surface water channels and kerb and channel)
    • 10,757 culverts and 1,164 other drainage assets including sumps and manholes.
    • 1,297 retaining walls.
  • Safety infrastructure, comprised of 1,294 streetlights, 698km of centreline and edgeline, 2,036 pavement marking symbols, 10,882 road signs, and 8,368km of rails and barriers.

The depreciated replacement value of Council’s roads and associated assets is approximately $746 million. Council’s road network is the fourth-largest of any local authority in New Zealand, with one of the fewest number of ratepayers per kilometre of road. Management, maintenance, renewal and improvement of these assets is the most costly of Council's major activities and affordability is a key challenge. Due to the low population base, Council is heavily reliant upon funding assistance received from the NZTA.

Other key challenges faced by Council regarding management of the road network include:

  • Our road network is vulnerable to significant environmental events resulting in decreased accessibility and high intervention costs
  • Increasing heavy vehicle demand changes due to forestry is resulting in decreasing levels of service and increasing reactive interventions
  • Our aging infrastructure has very limited historic data/information resulting in difficulties in making effective and efficient investment decisions
  • Inconsistent road form and an unpredictable road reserve is resulting in a high risk of serious crash to motorists
  • The permanent closure of the Manawatu Gorge (SH3) has changed traffic flows, increasing volumes on previously low volume roads, increasing asset deterioration and safety risk to motorists resulting in higher costs or reduced levels of service.

The transportation activity is managed by the Tararua Alliance, a collaborative working agreement (or partnership) between Tararua District Council and Downer NZ Ltd. The Tararua Alliance also manage Council’s water, wastewater, and storm water reticulation infrastructure.

State highways within the Tararua District are managed by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA). NZTA also manage the Saddle Road and Pahiatua Track routes following the indefinite closure of state highway 3 through the Manawatu Gorge.