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Consultation on Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman SH plan

31 January 2005

Wellington Regional Office

MEDIA RELEASE

Consultation invited on Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman draft state highway plan

Transit New Zealand today released its draft 2005/06 – 2014/15 10-year State Highway Plan for Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman for consultation.

Transit is inviting submissions on the draft plan from all interested parties and the general public. Submissions will close on 16 March 2005 and the final plan will be issued at the same time as the Land Transport New Zealand funding allocations for 2005/06 are announced at the end of June.

Transit’s Wellington regional manager Graham Taylor said Transit has assigned priorities to projects and activities in line with the requirements of the Land Transport Management Act 2003 to ensure a safe, integrated, responsive and sustainable state highway network.

“The programme has been built around national indicative funding forecasts from Land Transport New Zealand and an estimated share of 75 percent of Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman “regional distribution funding” (the extra funding for land transport from the proposed increase in tax on petrol) going to state highways.

“We have tried to ensure that where possible, state highway activities are integrated with local roads, public transport and existing or planned cycling and walking facilities, he said.

“In this area the significant state highway issues are congestion in the Nelson to Richmond corridor and traffic growth of 4 percent per year around Nelson and up to 8 percent on SH60 towards Motueka. The intensification of land use and the possible impact on state highways is a particular concern for Transit and we are examining ways to protect the sustainability of the highways.

“Safety continues to be a major focus with a median barrier proposed at Whakatu Drive and a flush median on SH60 at Appleby.

“In general while substantial improvements have been made to some transport routes, further large works are required in Ruby Bay and over the Whangamoa saddle. Forestry traffic to both Port Shakespeare and Port Nelson is expected to increase significantly. Tourist traffic to the national parks and the Marlborough Sounds requires careful management to ensure an ongoing level of service,” he said.

Transit was currently working with the Nelson City Council on a strategic study of the requirements of the Nelson to Richmond corridor and any outcomes would be prioritised in future state highway plans said Mr Taylor.

Transit is currently consulting with the public on specific congestion points at the Tahunanui intersection and the McGlashan Avenue/Queens Street intersection in Richmond.

“State highways in the area are generally of a high standard but some sections of rural highway require upgrading such as the Whangamoa South section of SH6 and in Ruby Bay. Work on these two areas is scheduled for 2011/12 and 2010/11, respectively. Replacement of the Awatere Bridge is required and this $10.7 million project is programmed to start in 2006/07. Improvements to the Hope Saddle are in the draft plan with an indicative start date of 2012/13,” he said.

Mr Taylor said that in addition to the major state highway projects planned over the 10-year period the draft plan also sets out a three-year plan for smaller and medium-sized projects costing less than $3 million. Two passing lanes have been completed on SH1 at Riverland and at Seventeen Valley between Blenheim and Seddon and a further seven are planned on SH1 and SH6. Other proposals in the three years include the realignment of the research orchard corner on SH60 and seal widening at Birds Hill north of Takaka. Replacement of the Own River Bridge is nearly complete.

“Ways to improve opportunities for walking and cycling are important in Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman and two cycle facilities on SH6 on the eastern approach to Nelson are planned along Atawhai Drive to Mary Bank, and Nelson to Atawhai Drive.”

The draft plan also spells out Transit’s priorities for maintenance and operations with plans to resurface 105 lane-kilometres of highway and reconstruct six kilometres. Work will continue on stabilising embankments along SH1 north of Kaikoura, which are prone to slipping in winter and the removal of hazardous trees along the Shenandoah section of SH65. Transit will also continue to improve predictions of winter road conditions and continue to trial the anti-icer CMA.

With the significant annual growth in heavy vehicles (6.9 percent compared to 3.5 per cent for all traffic) and the subsequent wear on the highways, plus increased costs in the construction and maintenance sector, an additional $20 million a year nationally over the 10 years has been provided for maintenance.

“The final shape of the State Highway Plan for the area for 2005/06 and beyond now depends upon the response to this draft plan. We look forward to receiving submissions,” said Mr Taylor.
ends
Background information
This is the first year under the Land Transport Management Act 2003 in which Transit must consult more widely than in the past on its state highway plan. Transit has always consulted with local authorities, other government transport agencies and key organisations such as Police, New Zealand Automobile Association, the RTF (Road Transport Forum), the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and DoC, but this year it is aiming to attract feedback from land transport providers, affected communities, Maori and the general public. Under the Act Transit must also now consult with ACC and the Ministry of Health,

Written submissions will be accepted up to 16 March 2005 and submitters, if they wish, have the opportunity to present their information to a hearing panel during March and April. Submission forms are in each information sheet and are available at the sites below.

Copies of the full plan covering the whole of New Zealand will be available to view at libraries and local council offices, and information sheets with a submission form, on the plan for Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman is also available at the same outlets to take away. The regional material and the national plan is also available on Transit’s website: www.transit.govt.nz

ENDS

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