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KiwiRail delivers dead-end proposal

KiwiRail’s proposed level rail crossing closures could leave businesses and hundreds of residents with nowhere to turn.

The rail company has delivered flyers to residents on Judds Rd in Solway and Victoria and Pembroke streets in Carterton, telling them the level crossings on their streets are being considered for closure “to create a safer and more efficient railway”.

Closing the crossing would turn the three roads, which are currently thoroughfares, into dead ends.

A public meeting in response to the flyer drop has been arranged for next week by impacted businesses on Judds Rd.

Commercial bakery Breadcraft, which employs 150 staff, has trucks and cars coming and going all day to its Judds Rd site via Ngaumutawa Rd.

Director John Cockburn said closing the level crossing would increase the risk for his staff by forcing them to use the High St entrance, which he called “the gauntlet”.

“It’s quite worrying because it’s a notoriously dangerous and congested intersection, especially for vehicles turning south out of Judds Rd,” he said.

Cockburn said that closure would “add complexity” for trucks that could no longer use the bypass, forcing them through the centre of Masterton. “KiwiRail is trying to mitigate risk by proposing to close the crossing, but they’re just pushing the risk to another intersection at the other end of Judds Rd,” he said.

Westwood property group is building The Barracks, a 70-property development on the corner of Judds Rd and Ngaumutawa Rd.

Director Steve Pilbrow said the developer will “definitely oppose” the closure if it goes to consultation.

“We haven’t seen the full proposal yet, but the road has been there for a long time, so we’ll look forward to hearing any alternative proposals from KiwiRail,” he said.

KiwiRail Metros general manager Jon Knight said that, under the proposal, “improvements” would be made to the 30 public crossings between Remutaka Tunnel and Masterton, some of which would be closed for the safety and effectiveness of the railway.

“There is no firm list of proposed closures, and any decisions we make will be based on a range of considerations, including traffic flow assessments,” Knight said.

“We are also keen to hear how residents and businesses might be impacted and will be engaging with local communities over the coming weeks.”

All impacted businesses, Barracks residents, local MP Kieran McAnulty, and mayor Gary Caffell have been invited to the meeting at Harvest Electronics in Solway at 12.30pm next Friday.

KiwiRail has asked affected residents and businesses to email their questions and concerns to [email protected]

3 COMMENTS

  1. The problem is that with the new train that are coming The crossing have to be barrier armed as Its too dangerous for the loco drivers. Auto barriers cost about half a million each plus maintenance. Who’s paying for that..

  2. Isn’t there a legal principle that provides for unfettered public access across all public roads .. wouldnt they have to STOP the roads legally … a process that is embedded in the local council to decide upon and regulate?

  3. What utter disregard for people’s right of movement around their own towns that have been en situ from colonial days and town planning. It’s rubbish, it’s inconvenient and you have barriers for goodness sake. Get real.

Comments are closed.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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