As we near the start of the summer break, I am meeting with residents who are urging me to keep fighting for the four-lane continuous motorway from Belfast to Pegasus and the Woodend Bypass, following the New Zealand Transport Agency completing yet another round of community consultations.
The number of constituents I’ve met with this week is indicative, I believe, of the level of concern being felt about safety on State Highway 1 at Woodend, especially as we go into the holiday season.
A Woodend resident told me how she witnessed a child almost being run over at the courtesy crossing, outside of school patrol times. A truck travelling in the other direction seemed oblivious to the crossing – and didn’t even notice the child caught in the middle. Luckily her window was opened, so she managed to scream at the boy to stop. She’s asked me to press NZTA for a firm date for when the recommendations from the consultation will be fed back to residents, and for when funding will be allocated.
Other residents have asked me to find out what has happened with the plans to signalise the crossing.
How many times do residents have to say they don’t feel safe – whether trying to navigate the SH1/ Woodend-Rangiora Road/ Woodend Beach Road intersection or crossing on foot over SH1 at the school? We know that following demographic changes after the earthquakes, traffic volumes have hit trigger point for this project. Instead of the four-lane, continuous motorway, with separation of traffic and a Woodend Bypass, as promised by National in the second generation of Roads of National Significance, all residents have received is another round of consultations as Government has instead chosen to prioritise public transport projects in Auckland.
In the new year, I will be working alongside Woodend residents as we look at ways of bringing a united voice to NZTA. My plea to Government is to please listen before there’s more carnage.