Justin's Transport Minute

Yet another week where potholes and road cones were the talk of the town.

Tuesday morning I jumped on Newstalk ZB to talk with Tim Dower about Waka Kotahi’s announcement that they fixed 54,000 potholes over the last year. Less a badge of honour and more a testimony to the state of our roads, it was further evidence of what NRC members have been saying all along – our roads are falling apart. My message was simple, we need to hit our 2% a year run rate for pavement rehabilitation. Falling behind leads to safety issues for drivers, damage to trucks, insurance claims and makes it more expensive to get goods on shelves.

The 54,000 potholes must’ve inspired Arnold Schwarzenegger to grab a shovel do something about it in his California neighbourhood, leading the way by terminating a massive pothole which had been punishing vehicles in his street.

The road cone debate also continued to lurch on, but the conversation seems to be missing a key safety point. Every time there’s an excessive use of road cones, workers lives are put at risk. We’ve all seen examples, the 50m of cones on a main road where the works are down a side street, or where there are no apparent works anywhere in sight. Overuse of cones reduces safety, because drivers get desensitised, they can’t see the dangers, assume the cones have been left out, or switch off altogether. Many of us have read as children the little boy who cried wolf, well, it applies just as well to road cones. Sensibly and sparingly using cones in situations where there is genuine risk to human life will actually keep our road workers safer in the longer run.

I wish you the best for the rest of your Easter school holidays for those lucky enough to be enjoying them. For the rest – stay safe on the roads, especially when driving among too many cones.


Justin Tighe-Umbers

CEO | National Road Carriers Assn

DDI: +64 9 636 2951 | E: justin.tighe-umbers@natroad.co.nz | www.natroad.co.nz

‘Supporting those who choose to make a living in the Road Transport Industry’ Since 1936