Norman Ave closed on Monday. PHOTO/GIANINA SCHWANECKE
Waingawa business owners are frustrated by the recent closure of Norman Ave and want the New Zealand Transport Agency to take action.
Access via Norman Ave was temporarily closed by the Carterton District Council on Monday over safety concerns about the intersection with State Highway 2.
Mainfreight manager Shane McDougal said the closure had been “a pain in the ass”.
The closure meant added travel time for his drivers and was also putting more pressure on the Norfolk Rd intersection, he said.
“It’s going to block up Norfolk Rd. You have got all the trucks going down that way and the trucks trying to get out.”
He was also frustrated by the process and said he hadn’t been contacted by council and only learnt about the closure when reading the Times-Age.
McDougal said he understood the safety concerns and wanted more permanent measures to be put in place, including speed reductions and a roundabout at the Norfolk Rd intersection.
Several other business owners and employees in the area who spoke with the Times-Age agreed, calling for the left-in-left-out promised at Norman Ave instead.
Paul Jordan, manager of the Masterton Juken New Zealand [JNL] mill on Norfolk Rd, said the closure hadn’t caused any problems yet but had certainly increased traffic.
“The volume has gone up,” he said.
“You now get the staff from Kiwi Lumber, Mainfreight, McCarthy’s — all have to exit using Norfolk Ave.”
Like McDougal, he wanted action “before someone gets hurt”.
“It was probably a necessary move, but it would have been nice if NZTA could have just gotten on board by putting in a roundabout and speed reductions.”
Infrastructure, services and regulatory manager Dave Gittings said the council were compelled to take urgent action around the Norman Avenue intersection over safety concerns.
“We are aware that the closure may cause a slight inconvenience to some of the businesses in the Waingawa industrial estate, but the safety of our road users is paramount,” he said.
He said a letter was sent to local business owners advising of the closure in September and Mayor John Booth and Deputy Mayor Russell Keys had met with some in person.
The Norman Ave closure was just phase one of safety improvements along SH2 between Carterton and Masterton, NZTA regional transport systems manager Mark Owen said.
“It was great council took the initiative to close Norman Ave,” he said.
“I know that some people are frustrated with the closure. But it could save a life or avoid a fairly serious accident.”
He acknowledged the increased volume on Norfolk Rd and said this would incentivise NZTA to act sooner.
Within the next month they would go out to the community for further consultation, including discussions about lowering the speed limit.