Deaths feared on busy, nar­row Te Puke road

Bay of Plenty Times - - Local News - Kiri Gille­spie

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.

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