November 24, 2022
  • November 24, 2022
  • Home
  • Expenses
  • Kaimai potholes frustrated motorists over expense and damage

Kaimai potholes frustrated motorists over expense and damage

By on October 4, 2022 0

Eight motorists a day show up at a tire shop in Tauranga with broken and damaged wheels caused by potholes.

Andrea Lee, who estimates it will cost her around $1,000 to repair two of her tires and rims after hitting a pothole on the Kaimai Range on Friday night – an experience that left her “freaked out” and stuck on the side of the road with her 11-year-old son.

Transport agency Waka Kotahi NZ told the Bay of Plenty Times it had received 14 inquiries or complaints about potholes damaging vehicles on the stretch of road that night, with the transport official saying to anecdotally that about 20 cars had been affected.

He said the contractors were on site within an hour of being notified, putting traffic management in place to avoid any further risk.

Police issued a warning on Friday evening after a reported pothole punctured the tires of various vehicles crossing National Highway 29 on the Kaimai Range. The Bay of Plenty area also received over 120mm of rain over 72 hours this weekend.

Lee was on his way home from dropping off his 7-year-old daughter in New Plymouth when it happened.

Lee said his car didn’t come with a space-saving wheel, but rather a “bottle of grime and a compressor”, which couldn’t fix tires.

The damaged tire rim. Photo/Andrew Warner

She had to leave her car on the side of the road overnight until she could replace both of her tires with borrowed ones the next day. She was driven home with her roommate that evening.

“It was just noisy. I knew straight away what had happened and there were already so many cars on the left side.

” It’s very disturbing. I don’t know how long it will take, but I’m probably looking at over $1000 to fix my wheels. »

She said her insurer does not cover the damage caused by the potholes and plans to send Waka Kotahi the repair costs.

“I can’t afford to wait for them to pay, so I’m struggling to pay. So I can get the receipts to give them. That’s honestly the biggest pain.”

Mag Master Tauranga manager Kevin Browne said he sees an average of eight customers a day whose wheels have been damaged by potholes and works full time to fix bent wheels.

He said some were not repairable due to safety concerns and he was concerned motorists would not have their tires checked.

”If you’re driving with a bump on your wheel, it’s only a matter of time. It’s an accident waiting.”

Browne had worked in the industry for 18 years and “we’ve been very, very busy with the pothole work.”

”It’s the worst I’ve seen. It’s diabolical.”

Hamilton resident Ruth Ellis, whose wheel was also damaged after hitting the pothole on Friday, called the situation “frustrating.”

She pulled to the side of the road after hitting the pothole around 5 p.m. His son had to change a tire in the pouring rain.

Ellis contacted Waka Kotahi to cover the cost of tire damage and was told to contact her insurance company.

She said she would have to borrow money from her brother because her allowance would not cover the cost of repairs and a new tire.

It had done “pretty extensive damage” to a tire and rim, as well as the car’s suspension, she said.

“There were at least 25 cars we saw that had been hit by the pothole alone. My son changed the tire and we drove away – around the corner there were even more cars hit by this one pothole.”

She said the pothole was dangerous and needed to be fixed immediately.

Tauranga's mother, Andrea Lee, was one of the drivers who hit the pothole while driving on the Kaimai Range on Friday.  Photo/Andrew Warner

Tauranga’s mother, Andrea Lee, was one of the drivers who hit the pothole while driving on the Kaimai Range on Friday. Photo/Andrew Warner

Mount Maunganui resident Amy Jenkins said Friday’s multiple incidents came as no surprise to her.

She recently paid $350 to replace two of her car tires after driving over a large pothole on the Kaimai Range on Tuesday, September 20.

She said potholes were “definitely an issue” and felt the stretch of road was “not up to standard”.

Figures show that 26 complaints were filed with Waka Kotahi over potholes between Saturday and Monday nationwide.

Waka Kotahi had received 14 inquiries or complaints on Friday about potholes damaging vehicles in the Kaimai range so far.

Waka Kotahi regional maintenance and operations manager Rob Campbell said it was not possible to know the exact number of cars affected as there was no obligation to report it. For the record, it seems that about twenty of them were affected, he said.

Campbell said the potholes caused “significant disruption” to those driving on the stretch of road last Friday, describing it as a “difficult and stressful situation for motorists in wet conditions”.

He said the contractors were on site within an hour of being notified, putting traffic management in place to avoid any further risk.

Todd Muller, Member of Parliament for the Bay of Plenty.  Photo / Georges Novak

Todd Muller, Member of Parliament for the Bay of Plenty. Photo / Georges Novak

Repair work would begin tonight on SH29, which included resurfacing the “problem area”.

Next week, scheduled chip sealing works, originally planned for the end of next month, will begin to help improve the condition of the road, he said.

Complaints filed with Waka Kotahi that road conditions caused damage to a vehicle were assessed “on a case-by-case basis”.

Drivers needed to have insurance for their vehicles in case of damage that might occur on the road, he said.

“Their insurer should be their first point of contact in the event of damage and, if necessary, their insurer would then be in contact with Waka Kotahi.”

He said the transport agency was now undertaking the “biggest road renewal season in the country” to improve the general state of national roads.

From late September to April next year, more than 700 kilometers of national highway lanes would be closed or rebuilt throughout Waikato and Bay of Plenty, more than 13% of the region’s network.

Tauranga City Council transport network operations manager Tony Bonetti said heavy rains over the past two months had contributed to an increase in potholes on the local road network.

“The increase in potholes has strained our resources; and we have had to prioritize urgent repairs to dangerous potholes as quickly and safely as possible, as they pose a serious hazard. for road users.

Potholes classified as less urgent were repaired as soon as resources became available, she said.

She urged drivers to report potholes to the council, saying it helped staff understand where they were.

Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller said “a number” of locals had complained directly to him about potholes in Pāpāmoa and on national highways in the area.

Some of their cars had been damaged by a pothole on Pāpāmoa Beach Rd as it turned into Maranui St, he said.

“It’s just pure frustration that local government and central government just can’t get it right,” he said.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council senior transport engineer Calum McLean said the winter had seen a “substantial increase” in the number of potholes reported in the Western Bay.

He said 47 complaints were filed with the council about potholes on the Western Bay road network in September, at least double what had been reported in previous months.

A pothole on State Highway 33 near Paengaroa.  Photo/Andrew Warner

A pothole on State Highway 33 near Paengaroa. Photo/Andrew Warner

How Heavy Rain Causes Potholes

Waka Kotahi regional maintenance and operations manager Rob Campbell said winter was still taking its toll on the roads and damage from particularly heavy rains of late had been “particularly severe”.

The Bay of Plenty received more than 120mm of rain in 72 hours this weekend alone, he said.

“This winter has seen a significant increase in potholes across the country, compared to the past three years. This is due to a combination of current grid conditions and the wet winter.”

He said potholes could happen for a number of reasons, but water was the main cause and they could “appear quickly” after heavy rains.

“With our old pavements, if there is a crack in the road surface or a rock moved, it will allow water to collect on the road surface. When vehicles drive on standing water , the tires create hydraulic pressure, forcing the water down into the pavement.”

He said over time, as vehicles continued to drive over the pothole, it would grow as the weakened areas broke away.

Sections of road that need to be renewed – such as part of SH29 – were more prone to potholes as the pavement and surface were “weaker and starting to break”.

Potholes were to be repaired within 48 hours of being identified by the contractor.

Western Bay Pothole Hotline

* Potholes can be reported to its freephone line, 0800 WBOPDC (0800 926 732) or (07)5718008. Phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.