Locals baf­fled by by­pass plans

Taupo Times - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - ROBERT STEVEN

‘‘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.

STEPH RANGI/STUFF

Taupo By­pass

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