Maintenance work is now underway to gradually weed or replace many of Hamilton’s kerbside, road median and state highway garden beds and grassed areas over the coming months.
Hamilton City Council says the need to effectively manage safety and access issues are the main reason behind recent and temporary delays in carrying out this work across Hamilton’s roading network, however various issues relating to COVID-19 have also hindered Council progress.
“Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency has recently made changes to traffic management requirements when undertaking kerbside work,” says Gordon Naidoo, Council’s Transport Unit Director. “The changes include extra steps to ensure any council’s staff can safely work on busy roads such as our state highways, regardless of what that work is.”
“As a result, all councils throughout New Zealand have been working with the agency to factor these changes into each council’s road-related gardening, planting, verge and other planting and maintenance plan.”
Mr Naidoo says the new approach will keep Council staff safe while improving safety for all road users in and round the city. “We’ll also keep working with Waka Kotahi over the coming months as our overall plan rolls out to ensure we stay on track with that priority. We will not compromise on safety.”
Starting this week by focusing on roadside and median gardens along Cambridge Road, Council’s updated regular planting and maintenance plan will roll out progressively over the next two years.
“We’ll be dealing first with priority areas like those where tall grasses are obstructing road users’ vision; then our city’s state highways and main arterial roads; then quieter residential streets,” says Mr Naidoo.
Climate change and Council efficiencies have also been factored into the updated planting plan, which emphasises using native, drought-tolerant and other low maintenance plant species suited to Hamilton’s changing environment. These species also require less management.
Mr Naidoo says it’s also very important from a safety point of view that no resident is tempted to carry out gardening, vegetation work or lawn mowing on any Council-owned roadside garden areas.
“We want to thank the community for their patience as we have worked through this issue. We also appreciate they might just be wanting to help, but please, contact us first instead to let us know about the problem and we’ll sort it.”
He says residents are only responsible for their own property’s vegetation and roadside verge mowing. (For further details on which verge areas are the responsibility of residents, see hamilton.govt.nz/maintainingandimproving).
More information will be shared on the roadside replanting plan in the coming months, but in the meantime, queries and requests can be emailed to email@example.com or phone Council’s Customer Service team on 07 838 6699.