GPS used to crack down on roading contractors

POOR: Roading contractors now have stricter standards for maintenance in a bid to improve the condition of maintenance. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER

Stricter road maintenance standards and GPS tracking of contractors are now being used to improve the quality of the city’s roads and footpaths.

The city council has implemented a new system to monitor the work of three new contractors which cover the 1600km of road around the city.

The contractors, City Care, Higgins and HEB, took over last month.

City council road maintenance manager Mark Pinner said the new system meant there were stricter standards for contractors, the quality of their work, and how quickly it was done.

For example, a pothole reported on a high volume road would need to be fixed within a day, while one on a lower volume route would be within two days, he said.

If the contractor continued to fail to meet the time restrictions imposed across all maintenance tasks, they would be paid less, he said.

“If they fail any one item on any given month, when they do it the next month, the deduction occurs.”

The changes come after city councillors raised the issue of falling maintenance levels across the city earlier this year, saying it was “failing spectacularly” to keep the city maintained and the number of complaints down.

At the time, they said there was not enough data to show what was being done and what was not.

Mr Pinner said the new system was about making sure the city council got the best value for money, and it provided better services for ratepayers.

He said the new system also meant the city council could track contractor movements.

“All vehicles have GPS trackers plotting where they are, and we can see how quickly they’ve responded. We’ll be upping our game in terms of auditing,” he said.

“We’re going to be out in the field a lot more, supervising this work.”

When ratepayers called the city council to report something that needed fixing, the request would also go directly to the contractor, he said.

“It’s a big step and, more importantly, it has improved focus on our key performance indicators and performance targets we set the contractor.”

City councillor Aaron Keown said the new system was a way of being “proactive, rather than reactive”. He said a similar system was being developed for parks maintenance as well.

The current contract for Banks Peninsula is due to expire in 2020.