By­pass is in the too-hard bas­ket

Katikati Advertiser - - Your Community Voice - By CHRIS STEEL

A 12-month de­lay while the new Gov­ern­ment Pol­icy State­ment pri­or­i­ties were eval­u­ated has not re­sulted in clear time­lines on the most crit­i­cal projects for State High­way 2, de­spite politi­cians agree­ing it is the most dan­ger­ous high­way in New Zealand, says Western Bay Coun­cil­lor David Mar­shall.

He en­dorsed the com­ments from his Coun­cil col­leagues in an ar­ti­cle in last week’s Ad­ver­tiser, and said he is very con­cerned.

“The high­est pri­or­ity is safety im­prove­ments from O¯ moko­roa in­ter­sec­tion to Beth­le­hem, yet we still do not know if it will be two lanes or four lanes, or two lanes with bus lanes.”

He said the sec­tion from Waihi to O¯ moko­roa has had fund­ing for safety im­prove­ments ap­proved. “Which is great news, but the time­line is still un­cer­tain and the im­ple­men­ta­tion of cen­tral bar­ri­ers ap­pears to have gone into the too-hard bas­ket with no com­mit­ments to date.”

“It is ap­par­ent that [the by­pass for Katikati] was not put for­ward as a pri­or­ity by NZ Trans­port Agency and this is a real dis­ap­point­ment to all who worked so hard to get this over the line,” Mar­shall said.

“Var­i­ous politi­cians have promised this out­come but no com­mit­ment to date. This re­mains the most crit­i­cal fac­tor for the on­go­ing health and well­be­ing of our lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“It is a top pri­or­ity at al­most all com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tions and con­certed ac­tion to make this a re­al­ity will need to be taken up a level.”

Mar­shall said he sup­ports Coun­cil eval­u­at­ing the po­ten­tial to pro­ceed with a by­pass, but this could come at a high cost to long-suf­fer­ing ratepay­ers, so the fi­nan­cial costs and con­se­quences needed to be ex­plored and shared with the com­mu­nity for their de­ci­sion within the next six to nine months.

“I can un­der­stand that lo­cals may look to more cre­ative ways of rais­ing the im­por­tance of this pro­ject to gov­ern­ment, as rea­son and pe­ti­tions have not achieved their goals to date.”

The Ad­ver­tiser last week asked for read­ers’ views about whether Katikati had been fobbed off again.

One res­i­dent, who did not want his name pub­lished, said, he would love to see some coali­tion MPs have to travel from Waihi to Tau­ranga air­port to catch a 10am de­par­ture for Welling­ton ev­ery Mon­day.

“I would think in that case re­con­struc­tion would start pretty damn quick.”

The res­i­dent said they would have no prob­lem in sup­port­ing civil disobe­di­ence in the form of per­ma­nently oc­cu­py­ing a pedes­trian cross­ing in the main street ev­ery day.

“Lo­cals would know how to avoid such an ob­sta­cle, but through traf­fic, es­pe­cially trucks, wouldn’t or couldn’t do that.”

‘The high­est pri­or­ity is safety im­prove­ments from O¯ moko­roa in­ter­sec­tion to Beth­le­hem, yet we still do not know if it will be two lanes or four lanes, or two lanes with bus lanes.’

DAVID MAR­SHALL Western Bay Coun­cil­lor

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