Locals baffled by bypass plans
‘‘The upgrade will mean the road is more forgiving and crashes are less likely to result in deaths and serious injuries.’’ Tim Macindoe
The Government is investing $7 million in a major safety upgrade of the Taupo Bypass section of State Highway 1 – but social media users aren’t impressed with the plans.
The upgrade will widen the East Taupo Arterial Rd, between the Wairakei roundabout and the SH5 Napier-Taupo Road roundabout.
A flexible safety barrier will be installed down the middle of the road and rumble strips will be added.
The Taupo Times posted news of the State Highway upgrade to social media platforms on Wednesday.
More than 50 people commented on the Facebook post and 150 people used emoticons to indicate their view on the upgrade.
By 11am Thursday, 141 people supported the statement ‘‘great idea, make the bypass safer’’, while 9 people supported the statement ‘‘Not necessary, the bypass is wide enough’’.
Many commenters said Bulli Point, where SH1 slows to 25 kmh around three cliffs, was in greater need of upgrade.
‘‘The bypass could do with a few tweaks, but there are FAR worse roads. SH1 Taupo to Turangi, sections of the Desert Road, Poihipi Rd interchange, the Napier-Taupo Road, the Paraparas [Whanganui to Raetihi]... The list could go on and on,’’ commenter Kirsty Brown said.
Some, such as Ben Biddle, questioned why widening the road was necessary,
‘‘The bypass is huge... If you can’t drive on that basic stretch of road then you shouldn’t be on the road at all,’’ he wrote.
Associate Transport Minister Tim Macindoe said the upgrades were part of the Government’s ‘‘Safe System Approach’’, which acknowledges that drivers can and do make mistakes.
‘‘The upgrade will mean the road is more forgiving and crashes are less likely to result in deaths and serious injuries.’’
Since the bypass opened in 2009, two people have died.
Loss of control and fatigue were factors in a number of crashes, with vehicles crossing the centreline and/ or running off the road.
The upgrade will begin in October and be completed in mid-2018.
The State Highway upgrade will be done by the NZ Transport Agency rather than Taupo District Council, which manages local roads in the Taupo district.