Bypass is in the too-hard basket
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