A roundabout that looks like “the entry to an abandoned town” will get its next clean-up before Easter weekend, the NZ Transport Agency has pledged.
The Kōpū roundabout, which links State Highway 26 with State Highway 25, has been described by a resident as “disgraceful” and showing “a severe lack of civic pride”.
The resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, said they noticed the roundabout looking untidy around Christmas, with overgrown vegetation and litter filling up the centre of the traffic circle.
“This is the gateway to the Coromandel. Currently, the roundabout looks like the entry to an abandoned town, showing a severe lack of civic pride,” they said.
“Having travelled a great deal around New Zealand, this reflects badly on Thames, which is a lovely town with plenty to offer.”
In emails seen by The Profile, the resident contacted Thames-Coromandel District Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to determine whose responsibility it was to clean up the roundabout.
They said it had been difficult to establish culpability, but Waka Kotahi’s director regional relationships in Waikato and the Bay of Plenty David Spiers told The Profile it was the agency’s responsibility for the maintenance of vegetation on rural roundabouts on Waikato state highways, including the one at Kōpū.
“Waka Kotahi is working to optimise our maintenance and renewal work at a time when there is a finite amount of funding available and growing demands on the roading network.
“We are prioritising keeping our roads safe, avoiding disruption for users, as well as minimising future costs of restoring the network to sustainable levels of service,” he said.
“Unfortunately this means that vegetation maintenance doesn’t always get prioritised unless it is deemed a safety concern.” The last maintenance of the Kōpū roundabout was carried out just before Christmas 2021, and vegetation would be cleared again prior to Easter weekend, he said.