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Buller’s flood damaged roads to get an overhaul

01 May 2023

Buller District Council will call for proposals from contractors over the coming months to address the more complex damage on Buller’s local roads caused by the July 2021 and February 2022 flood events.

In December 2022 council received $13.2M funding approval from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency for the reinstatement of the roads in the Buller District that were damaged by the two significant rain events. An initial $1.5M of this funding was received after the February event to carry out emergency repairs.

Manager infrastructure delivery Eric de Boer says: “These two storm events where significant, in total we had approximately 150 damaged sites on our local road network. Of these, 62 damaged sites involved minor clearance of debris and trees which the team addressed immediately.

The remaining sites required much more comprehensive repairs, ranging from minor road repair and reconstructions through to more significant stabilisation and remedial work. This is what we are focused on now and will address this year.”

These sites have been grouped into 12 bundles. These bundles considered the location of the damaged sites and scope of work required in order to maximise our efficiency.

Mr de Boer says: “The funding support from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency enabled us to put a team together, create a plan how to best restore our local road network and have the money to go out for tender.”

WestReef Services Limited were assigned most of the initial emergency repairs. This allowed them to fix these quickly under the existing maintenance contract with council. All these repairs have now been completed except Glasseye Creek bridge. Rosco Contractors Ltd were allocated and have completed two sites due to the specialised rock placement required.

Mr de Boer says: “A robust procurement process in accordance with government rules will be carried out to select the successful contractor (or contractors), for the remaining works ensuring that the works are delivered safely and in accordance with the proposed design solutions and budget.”

For these remaining works, council has established a supply panel, of appropriate and pre-qualified contractors who can tender to deliver the remaining repairs.  This panel is made up of local and South Island based contractors. This streamlines the tendering process and will speed up the delivery of the repair work.

A number of the repair solutions require engineering designs, which have already been allocated to external consultants.

The Karamea Highway underslip repair has been issued to the panel for pricing. A further four bundles will be issued for pricing and tendering in May.  Five bundles will be ready for pricing / tendering in June, with the final bundle issued in August.

Mr de Boer says: “This is going to be a significant work programme. Contractors will endeavour to keep the roads open as far as practicable while undertaking repairs to minimise the impact on road users. Some sites are quite sizable and will require substantial traffic management, including temporary road closures.

It is expected that the majority of the site works will be undertaken between June and December 2023 with some rock protection and road repairs continuing through to mid-2024.

Mr de Boer says, “Once all sites are cleaned up it will allow people in Buller to travel with ease and provide greater resilience to our road network. Reliable transport networks are key to our local economy and important to our rural community.”


The July 2021 and February 2022 rain events were wide reaching across the region with the Karamea Bluff and Denniston Roads particularly hard hit and suffering extensive damage.

The Buller region relies heavily on the roading infrastructure with isolated communities requiring a safe and reliable road network for personal travel, for access for emergency services and for heavy vehicles to truck goods to and from these communities.

Since the storm events, a team of engineers, designers and project managers have been working to identify the damage, provide engineered solutions, and cost estimates for discussions with Waka Kotahi which led to Waka Kotahi approving $13.2M funding support to council.


further information please contact:

Eric de Boer
Manager Infrastructure Delivery