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Funding approved to minimise impact of dust on unsealed roads

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The NZ Transport Agency is supporting Whangarei District Council to seal an additional 2.5km of roads to address health concerns caused by dust from forest logging traffic.

The Transport Agency and Whangarei District Council will jointly fund extensions to existing sealed sections along an area of Wrights Rd/McCardle Rd which is affected by dust. Each will share the $1.3m cost of the work. 

The additional sections, which total 2.5km, are near residential properties where dust is most likely to create a nuisance because of their close distance to the road. 

The Whangarei District Council looked at various options and has determined that chip sealing was the best practical option to reduce potential adverse health effects of dust exposure at these locations. 

“The Transport Agency understands the concerns caused by dust for residents along Northland’s very large rural and unsealed road network”, says the Transport Agency’s Northland Regional Director, Ernst Zöllner. 

“We’re delighted to be able to support Whangarei District Council to actively manage dust issues through their maintenance programmes.” 

The support follows NZ Transport Agency initiated research and guidance carried out in 2015 and 2016. 

The independent research which quantified the impacts of dust exposure on unsealed roads and how best to approach mitigation assessment, along with NZ Transport Agency guidance,  is now available to local authorities to help them seek funding assistance from their current National Land Transport Programme funding, through the NZ Transport Agency. 

The Transport Agency is also working with Local Government New Zealand to further investigate the impacts of unsealed dust and to develop a national framework and guidance for helping Road Controlling Authorities to mitigate those impacts. 

The Transport Agency is continuing to work closely with the Northland Transport Alliance to understand the extent of dust issues across Northland and the best strategy to reduce its impact.

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