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Baby step taken to advance town traffic bypass

August 16th, 2017
[by David Armstrong]

A baby step was taken yesterday toward advancing the prospect of a heavy-vehicle bypass around Motueka, but it still may take a decade or more to implement.

The Motueka Community Board decided to recommend to Tasman District Council that a project to designate an as yet undecided bypass route be put into Council's Long Term Plan for 2018-2028.

This follows a July meeting attended by Councillor David Ogilvie and Community Board member Barry Dowler with NZ Transport Agency to discuss future strategies concerning State Highway 60.

In a report to the community board, David said there was general acceptance by those at the meeting that Motueka's growth and its increasing traffic problems means a bypass will be needed in future, though NZTA says not in the short term.

A key part of the process, which has already been looked at in planning studies over the past few decades, is the "designation" of a road in Motueka as a future bypass route.

David asked that the board offer a recommendation for a route, as "the first step in the designation process".

He said that the 2010 NZTA study on traffic issues in and around Motueka "came up with no formal resolutions. The recommended designation is intended to correct the situation. 2017 can be heralded as the year when Motueka acted formally and positively towards a traffic bypass."

TDC engineering manager Richard Kirby, attending the community board meeting as advisor to the board, said that the designation process includes the development of a business case which leads then to consultation with the community and people potentially affected, before a designation can be made.

Although this would initiate the process, the designation would only last a maximum of 10 years, so if NZTA did not proceed in that time with building the bypassed, the designation would lapse.

Richard therefore recommended the process begin with a submission to get the local planning started by Council in the next 10 years.

Speaking to the two high school-age youth representatives at the meeting, David noted that when he was on the Motueka Borough Council (before it was amalgamated into the Tasman District Council) in 1988, that Council received a petition for a bypass as well as traffic lights at the Greenwood Street corner.

"That was nearly 30 years ago, so you young people may well be seeing the same stuff happening in 29 years from now," he joked.

Being a state highway, SH60 through Motueka is the responsibility of the National agency, not TDC, so the local council can do no more to advance a town bypass then prepare well researched documentation to support an application.

Comment by Phillip Grimmett:
[Posted 29 August 2017]

Thanks for your coverage of this issue. I have been meaning to respond on this topic earlier, but life intervenes.

I made a submission and had a positive discussion with Barry Dowler about the obvious solution to this problem - a town traffic bypass. What is happening in this proposal is a band aid which could be dangerous for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists, and is more procrastination delsying a real solution. My first response reading this article was discombobulation, then mild amusement, and finally what the flipping! It's ridiculous.

This could be comedy if it wasn't a real issue, adversely affecting the quality of life and safety for local citizens for the next 30 or more years.

It could be an episode of "Yes Minister", if only we could get the Minister to turn up!

I read somewhere that NZTA constructs, on average, 2 bypass's per year, and Motueka is currently about 50 on the list. I was number 46 on the McGillicuddy Party list a long time ago at The General Election, and I can still remember what it's like to have realistic expectations about what is not going to happen in thirty years time. Lol.

I have come to conclude that the local people know what is required and the beaurocrats in NZTA in Auckland do not want to know. Which means we find ourselves exactly where we are, and will be for the unforeseeable future.

Not so much "Baby Steps", more a case of a twinkle in the eye of a dodgy uncle!

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