Deaths feared on busy, narrow Te Puke road
Residents and workers on a busy Te Puke road are pleading for safety improvements, warning someone will be killed if nothing is done.
Number 1 Rd resident Lyn Govenlock and Trevelyan’s Pack and Cool’s Mike McCauley asked for widening of the road while making submissions to the Western Bay of Plenty District Council on Thursday.
Govenlock and McCauley asked if safety improvements could be incorporated in the works for the Waia¯ri Water Supply Scheme, which will affect Number 1 Rd early next year.
The council heard that Number 1 Rd was a significant arterial route for orchards and packhouses, particularly Trevelyan’s, which packed 50 million trays last season.
Govenlock provided photographs of the road measuring 5.8m wide, sharp drops from the edge of the road and wrecks of cars that had crashed.
Govenlock, a St John volunteer for 28 years, said the road was so narrow whenever there were two trucks at once, one always had to leave the road to allow the other to pass.
“From [wing] mirror to mirror, those trucks are 3m wide. We are talking about bloody great big trucks down the bottom of the road where it’s not that wide.”
There were about 2000 truck movements a day on Number 1 Rd during peak season, Govenlock said. This did not die off much during the year as packhouses and orchards kept up with recruiting and shipping.
Govenlock said the road had become so worn, buses and other large vehicles regularly lost traction.
McCauley said the bottom part of Number 1 Rd was “very dangerous” and there had been many near misses.
“I’ve certainly had a lot of frights. Some of the workers in the area . . . wear dark clothing while walking on the road. I believe someone will be killed before long.” For about six months of the year, about 500 people lived within the first 300m of Number 1 Rd, and during peak season to 1700, McCauley said.
He also proposed a walkway or cycleway be included in the Dangerous intersection update a secret
■ An update from the NZ Transport Agency on the future of the Belk Rd and State Highway 29 intersection, and Tauriko project, was held confidentially at the Western Bay of Plenty District Council on Thursday. Media and the public were asked to leave the council chambers despite the matter being listed on the council agenda as a public item. upcoming pipeline works.
James Trevelyan, who cycles to and from his company, said he always left the road when a truck came past. His worry was existing hazards on the road would only get worse because of the increased demand on the industry.
“The kiwifruit industry is in a fantastic growth phase — which is great for the region — but it puts pressure on infrastructure services, and that’s tough,” he said.
Trevelyan said the company had a sign at the beginning of Number 1 Rd advising workers to ring for a pick-up. However, “for whatever reason, they walk up the road, on the road”.
Western Bay council roading PHOTO / ANDREW WARNER engineer east Stuart Harvey said the estimated cost of a proposed 2.5m-wide cycleway on Number 1 Rd was $1.9 million. He also recommended the width of Number 1 Rd be extended to 8.5m.
Further details on the cost of widening the road and other alternatives are yet to be determined.
James Trevelyan, who owns Trevelyan’s Pack and Cool, says Te Puke’s Number 1 Rd has become exceptionally dangerous for the many residents and workers in the area and hopes something can be done to make the area safer.