Cross­ing safety to be stud­ied

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

Op­tions for im­prov­ing pedes­trian safety at a point on the East Coast Main Trunk rail line near Wa­haroa could cost be­tween $20,000 and $1 mil­lion, the re­gional trans­port com­mit­tee has heard.

The is­sue of safety was raised by Mata­mata- Pi­ako District Coun­cil Mayor Hugh Ver­coe at last month’s meet­ing.

The com­mit­tee then asked that an in­ves­ti­ga­tion be car­ried out into how safety at the site of the new 2.2 kilo­me­tre Tami­hana pass­ing track could be im­proved.

The com­mit­tee heard that mem­bers of the com­mu­nity has been cross­ing the tracks from Tami­hana to ac­cess a swim­ming hole, as well as shops at Wa­haroa.

Lo­cal as­para­gus also cross the line nearby fields. work­ers to reach

The alternative to cross­ing the rail­way tracks is to use the busy State High­way 27, which has no foot­path or cy­cle lane.

‘‘ This is a long- stand­ing is­sue. The lo­cal com­mu­nity has been cross­ing the tracks for decades and there was al­ways a safety risk. But that risk has been mag­ni­fied now with two lines,’’ Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil’s trans­port pol­icy pro­gramme man­ager Bill McMaster told the com­mit­tee.

Ki­wiRail’s north­ern re­gional man­ager Stephen Col­lett said it was es­sen­tial a so­lu­tion be found to en­sure safe walking routes for the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

‘‘There are a range of pos­si­ble op­tions for do­ing this and we will need to work through the fea­si­bil­ity of each of th­ese with the other rel­e­vant auth- ori­ties to find the best so­lu­tion for this com­mu­nity,’’ Mr Col­lett said.

Prior to the new track at Tami­hana open­ing on Novem­ber 12, Ki­wiRail un­der­took an ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign tar­get­ing school chil­dren, res­i­dents and as­para­gus work­ers.

Tres­pass signs have also been erected and a cam­era in­stalled to cap­ture pedes­trian move­ments.

Re­cently, the com­mit­tee sup­ported a Ki­wiRail rec­om­men­da­tion to train up to three lo­cals to guide res­i­dents across the rail­way lines as re­quired.

Mem­bers en­dorsed a re­view of cur­rent walking pat­terns be­tween Tami­hana and Wa­haroa, to be un­der­taken by Mata­mata- Pi­ako District Coun­cil in con­junc­tion with Ki­wiRail, NZ Trans­port Agency (NZTA) and Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil.

A meet­ing of po­lit­i­cal and ex­ec­u­tive lead­ers of the four agen­cies and Raun­gaiti marae will be held as a mat­ter of ur­gency to dis­cuss the is­sue.

Mean­while, a work­ing group com­pris­ing the four agen­cies will con­sider the fea­si­bil­ity of a range of pos­si­ble safety so­lu­tions ahead of an­other meet­ing with the Raun­gaiti marae com­mu­nity. The op­tions in­clude: Con­struct­ing ei­ther an un­der­pass or over­pass at the end of Ku­tia Rd.

Build­ing an at-level cross­ing with bells and lights.

In­stalling an at-level cross­ing us­ing the Aus­tralian warn­ing sys­tem.

Con­struct­ing a walk­way along one side of State High­way 27 from Tami­hana to Wa­haroa.

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