WHITIANGA Bay resident Eddie Howell says changes to the road outside his home first made it almost impossible to get in and out – and then further “improvements” directed a torrent of water down his driveway, destroying it. Photo Sven Carlsson OS0115-01

LACK of communication between a roading contractor and the New Zealand Transport Agency has caused a year of driveway despair for a Coast man.

Whitianga Bay resident Eddie Howell said “upgrades” to driveways along State Highway 35, done about a year ago by NZTA contractors, resulted in a downgrade for his driveway.

After a grader lowered the surface of the road outside his home, there was an “18-inch drop from the driveway to the road”.

“This resulted in our car getting damaged as we were driving in and out,” he said.

Mr Howell inserted wooden posts and stones, creating a ramp to try to alleviate the problem.

He also made several calls to the contractor.

“I think the original work was done to change the way the water was flowing down the road after rain,” Mr Howell said.

Following the complaints about the drop, the contractors removed the posts and stones, replacing the temporary solution with a mass of tarseal.

However, Mr Howell said this made the situation worse because water was then being directed down his driveway, gouging it.

“They ruined my whole driveway, but they don’t seem to care.”

On complaining to both the contractor and road inspectors, Mr Howell was told he needed a culvert to fix the problem.

“They then told me I had to pay for the culvert,” he said.

At his wits’ end, Mr Howell contacted the Opotiki News for help and after a visit to Whitianga Bay some questions were asked of the NZTA about the situation.

This week, it became clear that NZTA was unaware of the situation.

“I had a visit by some managers who probably were worried I was another Maori who would have a go at them,” Mr Howell said.

“They knew nothing about this, and said they didn’t need this kind of problem.”

The NZTA representatives were very helpful and Mr Howell said he was most grateful someone was taking his concerns seriously. “This is a big win,” he said.

NZ Transport Agency media manager Sarah-Lee Crellin said NZTA was working with Mr Howell to find a solution.

“Initial work was done along the open drain that changed the way the stormwater was crossing the driveway, however, this hasn’t solved the problem,” she said.

“We will look at the wider section of road to come up with a permanent solution.”