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Island roads past ‘use by’

Thursday August 09, 2018 Written by Published in Local
A worker braves waist-deep water and a torrential downpour to unblock a culvert on the back road near the airport runway on Tuesday. Drainage issues have a severe effect on Rarotonga’s roads. 18080728 A worker braves waist-deep water and a torrential downpour to unblock a culvert on the back road near the airport runway on Tuesday. Drainage issues have a severe effect on Rarotonga’s roads. 18080728

Rarotonga’s roads are way past their “use by” date and will continue to deteriorate, especially after heavy downpours, unless they are resealed.

 

Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) road works division manager Vaipo Mataora says many of the roads on the island had not been resealed for the past 25 years. And he says that’s the reason why there are so many potholes.

Mataora says unless the roads are resealed, the potholes will continue to pop up despite the best efforts of the ICI road works team to fill them.

“The whole of Rarotonga road needs to be resealed apart from the asphalt road. The surface of the road is getting worse from the increased number of vehicles on the island and poor drainage,” Mataora said.

“The hedges along the roadsides are not helping as they don’t allow water to flow through properly after a heavy rain, clogging the drainage system and flooding the roads.

“The quick fix is obviously filling up the potholes, but it doesn’t last long, especially when it rains again, washing the surface and bringing back the road to its initial state.”

Mataora says ICI has budgeted money for a road improvement/maintenance programme, but not for resealing the roads throughout Rarotonga.

Resealing would have to include demolition and clearing works, scarification and removal of existing surfacing, pavement widening, pavement rehabilitation involving digging out and replacing it, and construction of pavement overlay.

It would also include construction of storm water drainage including subsoil drainage construction, kerb and footpath construction, pavement surfacing (two coat chip seal) and installation of road signage and pavement marking.

“Maintenance will surely provide some relief, but a permanent solution to the pothole problem will be resealing the roads on Rarotonga,” Mataora says.

Since Tuesday’s torrential rain, ICI road works division staff have been out repairing potholes that resulting from days of wet weather.

Mataora says the team had just finished patching up the potholes on the back road but the torrential rain washed away all the filling, bringing the road back to its old condition.

“It’s an ongoing process: we patch up the potholes to provide some relief to the road users and (as soon as) it rains again, the road is back to the old (poor) state.”

On Tuesday there was extensive flooding on the back road and other low-lying areas around the island, particularly in Avatiu.

However, predictions that the rain would continue for another two days thankfully proved incorrect, with the weather clearing yesterday morning.