Rest Area 300m: A Big Local U Turn

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Big Local U Turn

Now you see it, ...Now you don't.
Puzzled Non Kiwi's can skip this post & read about road movies...

Taranaki Daily News 30 April 2005
A notorious stretch of Taranaki's northern outlet will undergo a $1.1 million upgrade.Work on the 2km narrow and winding road between the Awakino Hotel and the Junction Service Station on State Highway 3 is scheduled during the 2005-06 year.
The road, which has claimed at least two lives in recent years, will be widened and corners smoothed.
In October 1998, a Stratford woman and her three-year-old son died when their car went off State Highway 3 and plunged into the river 800m north of the Awakino Hotel.
Any accidents can close the road for hours, and cause major traffic disruption on Taranaki's only highway north. On June 22, 2001, it was closed for six hours when an offal truck tipped over 1km north of the hotel. Vehicles were backed up 3km each way from the accident with no possibility for diverting the traffic while emergency crews cleared the spillage from the truck
The upgrade plans were revealed at a Taranaki Regional Council meeting earlier this week.
"The security of our routes out of Taranaki is a high priority, so it's quite a sensible move," transport committee chairman Roger Maxwell said.
The project has been moved to second priority on the Taranaki Regional Land Transport Committee's list and there are hopes of financial assistance from the Waikato district council.
Councillor David Walter noted the road's reputation and its track record of accidents. The widening of the road and easing of corners would go some way towards fixing these problems."If it didn't go ahead now then my feeling is it would not go ahead for another 10 to 12 years," Mr Walter said.
Other long-term projects for Awakino are being investigated under the National Land Transport Plan. These include the widening and realignment of the tunnel north and realignments at Hannahs Curve and Bexley Station. Hairpin bends at the end of high speed straights in the Awakino Gorge could be realigned to provide speed consistency while two 55km/h bends on the southern approach could be eased and realigned.
Taranaki expects to have about $48 million to spend on its roading priorities throughout the region over the next 10 years.Much of the funding is a result of the 5% fuel excise levy and increased road user charges that came into place earlier this month.
26 July 2005
The omission of major Awakino roadworks from the Government's 10-year to-do list has put Taranaki roading authorities on a collision course with Government transport funding agencies.
After extensive consultation for more than six months, the Taranaki Regional Land Transport Committee (TRLTC) rated both the repair of the subsiding road north of the Awakino pub and the widening of the Awakino tunnel as high priorities.But when the 10-year State Highway Plan was released earlier this month, the TRLTC was outraged to see the two projects were not listed.
The committee had determined the road between the pub and the Awakino garage was fragile and in danger of disappearing into the adjacent Awakino River.
At the TRLTC meeting at Stratford on Friday, Transfund, Transit NZ and Land Transport New Zealand representatives were called to account.
TRLTC member Tom Cloke said the omission was a joke."To have it ignored when we put it as a top priority, are we being treated as fools in the provinces? We get sick of your damned processes," Mr Cloke said.
LTNZ Ian Hunter responded that the distribution of money had been made more difficult because Transit had been working on a different time-frame from LTNZ. The two authorities were holding talks to try to make sure it would not happen again, Mr Hunter said.
Barry Finch said the committee needed to be sending a signal to the Government to get it right.
Acting chairman David Walter said the committee would strongly object in a move to get the two priority jobs reinstated.
A letter would be sent to the LTNZ, outlining the committee's concern that the priorities had been given very little weight, despite extensive consultation, Mr Walter said.And an urgent meeting would be called between LTNZ, TNZ, Taranaki's Technical Advisory Committee and the State Highway 3 Working Party to work through the issues.
In the meantime, the Government had found another $500 million for transport, Mr Walter said.The motion was passed unanimously.Transit regional manager Errol Christiansen, of Wanganui, said $304 million had been approved for Taranaki roading projects over the next decade.The determination of where the funding would go was an annual process, Mr Christiansen said.

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