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Our District's road network

Ashburton District Council operates and maintains the fourth longest local authority roading network in New Zealand. As the pathway for transporting the district's produce to local and international markets, our road network plays an essential part in supporting our economy.

The effects of changing land use has resulted in significant increases in heavy traffic use on our roads and council's aim is to ensure that our roads continue to provide adequate service to all road users in the district.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) maintains the 116km of State Highway 1 and State Highway 77 (Methven highway) which run through the district. Council continues to work with NZTA to ensure the continuity of service between the local and national road networks.

Quick facts

Here are some interesting facts about the roads in our district:

​Total length of roads​2,623km
​Sealed  roads​1,507km
​Unsealed  roads​1,116km 
​Bridges  ​141
​Traffic & street signs​8,581
​Street lights   ​2551
Culverts  ​3,136

Funding our roads

The funding to meet the cost of operating, maintaining and improving the district roads comes from three main sources:

  • District rates
  • Central government's Land Transport Fund administered by the NZTA
  • Petrol tax and others

The level of government assistance provided to Council is controlled by the Financial Assistance Rate (FAR).  Each year, the NZTA and Road Controlling Authorities agree on a local Land Transport Programme that provides for the maintenance, renewal and replacement of existing assets and the provision of new assets to nationally set guidelines.

Specified criteria must be met to gain the financial assistance offered by NZTA.   The NZTA has undertaken a review of the total FAR system to ensure that it is an equitable method of returning road related taxes back to Road Controlling Authorities.

From July 2018, NZTA will subsidise 51% of funds for roads and footpaths, and 85% for LED streetlights.

Road maintenance

While maintaining our district's roads, Council also looks after:

​Intersection design & improvement​Traffic management
​Heavy Vehicle Permits​Maintenance contracts – reseal, metalling, grading
​Road signs contracts​Street light contracts
​Road marking contracts 

Installation of irrigation pipes under district roads

​​​​With many companies undertaking major piping works of their irrigation schemes, Council has developed a set of guidelines​​ to provide the requirements for installing pipes under the districts roads.​

Irrigation water on roads

In the summer months many farmers in the district use spray irrigators to water their grass and crops especially during the main growing period prior to harvest.

This is a common practice however in some cases the incorrect positioning of irrigators can cause water to be sprayed onto the adjacent road.  This not only creates a road hazard for motorists and other road users, it can cause damage to the roads, especially gravel ones.

The Council asks that all rural property owners using spray irrigation systems adjacent to roads ensure their irrigators are positioned carefully so water is only applied to the paddock and not the road.

If you are aware of water being sprayed onto our local roads, please contact Council.

Droving stock on council roads

Between May and September of each year, cows are walked from dairy farms to winter grazing blocks and vice versa and all road users are urged to take care during this period.

Council has a bylaw for stock droving, which allows stock to be driven on local roads after sunrise and before sunset without written permission provided:

  • There are no more than 600 cattle or 3000 sheep in one move and one drover per 300 cattle or 1500 sheep.
  • Animals are kept moving
  • Suitable signs must be used at a safe stopping distance to warn other road users.

Read the Transportation and Parking Bylaw

NZTA are the controlling authority for state highways.  The NZTA recommend the use of the Code of Practice for Temporary Traffic Management.  This code requires the preparation of a TMP (Traffic Management Plan) when moving mobs of cattle across an open speed state highway.

Speed limits

Speed limits on Ashburton district roads are set using all applicable legislation including “Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2017.

The full schedule of speed limits is listed in the Councils Transportation and Parking Bylaw

Activity management plan

Activity Management Plans (AMPs) outline how Council manages Roads and Footpaths.

Read the Transportation Activity Management Plan


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