Dead­line for de­vi­a­tion de­ci­sion looms closer

Marlborough Midweek - - OUT & ABOUT - PIPPA BROWN

The State High­way 1 De­vi­a­tion pro­posed for Kaiko¯ura is still likely to go ahead, al­though a fi­nal de­ci­sion won’t be made un­til the end of March.

In July last year the New Zealand Trans­port Agency (NZTA) pro­posed a 500-me­tre State High­way 1 road re­align­ment along Lyell Creek to im­prove safety and traf­fic flows around the ‘‘busy and chal­leng­ing’’ in­ter­sec­tion at State High­way 1, Whale­way Sta­tion Rd, Lud­stone Rd and West End.

NZTA de­sign port­fo­lio man­ager Mike Blyleven pre­sented an up­date on the pro­posed State High­way de­vi­a­tion at the Kaiko¯ura District Coun­cil meet­ing on Wed­nes­day.

Blyleven said the de­vi­a­tion would in­crease ur­ban ac­ces­si­bil­ity from West End as part of the wider safety im­prove­ments be­tween Clarence and Oaro.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously Kaiko¯ura has grown, re­fer­ring back to 1948 when Kaiko¯ura was a very small town.’’

He said NZTA were look­ing to ad­dress some of the com­plex­i­ties around West End, with three close prox­im­ity in­ter­sec­tions, limited vis­i­bil­ity, poor pedes­trian cross­ing fa­cil­i­ties and the traf­fic com­ing down the hill.

He called the in­ter­sec­tion ‘‘dan­ger­ous, ter­ri­fy­ing and scary and peo­ple had to be care­ful’’.

There had been a mas­sive in­crease in tourist traf­fic af­ter the high­way re­opened in De­cem­ber.

Mayor Win­ston Gray said traf­fic had been backed up along West End to the coun­cil build­ing at Christ­mas.

NZTA will make their fi­nal de­ci­sion on the road on March 29 af­ter speak­ing with runanga on Sun­day, March 11.

Runanga o Kaiko¯ura ini­tially op­posed the de­vi­a­tion mainly on cul­tural is­sues, as they re­garded the area to be of high cul­tural sig­nif­i­cance.

If NZTA de­cide to pro­ceed a fi­nal de­sign will be tabled, with con­struc­tion ex­pected to start next year.

Res­i­dent Pie Bird, whose home was sched­uled to be de­mol­ished be­cause the new road goes straight through her prop­erty said her fam­ily just wanted to move on.

Bird said six months ago she was told she would lose her house.

‘‘Limbo isn’t a good place to be,’’ she said.

NZTA and Kaiko¯ura District Coun­cil asked for public feed­back on the pro­posal last year.

Blyleven said public sub­mis­sions showed there had been more op­po­si­tion than sup­port for the road.

Many op­po­nents were con­cerned the im­pact the road would have on busi­nesses and prop­er­ties, prob­lems with traf­fic con­ges­tion, and park­ing along Beach Rd.

There were also en­vi­ron­men­tal and geotech­ni­cal con­cerns, and oth­ers had asked for a full by­pass.

Kaiko¯ura District Coun­cil said there was a need for as­sis­tance to­ward im­prov­ing lo­cal road net­works af­ter the mag­ni­tude-7.8 earth­quake in Novem­ber 2016.

The coun­cil said they sup­ported the pro­posal, but ad­vo­cated for a safe pedes­trian cross­ing or un­der/ over pass, and a de­sign which took into ac­count the flood risk from Lyell Creek.

Blyleven said mod­el­ling showed the flood risk from Lyell Creek was sub­stan­tive.

‘‘If there was a flood there is a very large area which gets af­fected,’’ he said.

Con­se­quently changes to the de­sign had been made. The up­dated de­sign in­cluded a pedes­trian un­der­pass, im­proved bike and walk­way link­ages, as well as bet­ter sight lines and sim­pli­fied in­ter­sec­tions, which led to costs in­creas­ing from $20 mil­lion to $25 mil­lion.

PIPPA BROWN/STUFF

Pedes­tri­ans com­pete with traf­fic when cross­ing the road at the cor­ner of Lud­stone Rd, SH1 and Churchill St.

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