Carterton residents would like to see Hughes Line widened. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN

By Chelsea Boyle

chelsea.boyle@age.co.nz

Carterton residents are keen to see a narrow country lane widened after witnessing too many close calls, particularly when all traffic is diverted onto the road following blockages on the main highway.

During a head-on crash in May, which killed Masterton man Eric MacIntosh, a stretch of SH2 was closed for more than four hours leaving diverted traffic reliant on Hughes Line – a 5m-wide road that is parallel to the highway.

A car using the diversion blew out its two left tyres when it hit a culvert, attempting to avoid oncoming traffic.

One Hughes Line resident told council, “I personally attended this incident and was shocked to find just how much danger the vehicle driver and passengers were in trying to get off the carriage way in their attempts to avoid the congested flow at 5 o’clock rush hour’.

“It was a seriously dangerous situation.”

After two hours, a second diversion was added to manage traffic.

Council officers said during diversions it was “likely” that cars using Hughes Line would have to drive with the outside wheels off the seal, resulting in rutting of the shoulder and potholes forming.

Today, Carterton District Council’s Infrastructure and Services Committee will weigh up three options in a bid to address the problem.

The first is to “do the minimum” but encourage better management of diversions and continue to repair the road following a diversion.

The second option is the same with the addition of kicking off a programme to extend the culverts and enhance the repairs to strengthen shoulders.

The third option, to fully fund the seal widening to 6.5m, is out of reach according to the report facing councillors.

“An approximate cost to widen Hughes Line to 6.5m is $450,000 which includes extending culverts to accommodate the widening,” the report said.

“The cost to complete the repair from the last incident is in the order of $3000. The frequency of these diversions is 2-3 per year.

“The cost of widening is difficult to justify, and would be unlikely to qualify for a NZTA subsidy (i.e. the council would have to fund the full cost of improvements).

“This is not a recommended option.”

Council have also received complaints about speeding on Park Rd, Rutland Rd, Charles St and traffic cutting the corner turning right from Park Rd to Dixon St.

The council has also received a request to have the footpath on Park Rd extended and to improve pedestrian access to Charles St.