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SH2 issue may block Lansdowne development

PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

Roundabout requirement questioned

KAREN COLTMAN
[email protected]

Road safety concerns were at the centre of a consent application hearing for the expansion of Lansdowne Park retirement village by its owners, Arvida.

Lawyers for the New Zealand Transport Agency told the hearing in Masterton on Thursday that it objected to Arvida’s consent application solely on the grounds of road safety.

To mitigate road safety issues, Arvida, had proposed a right-turn bay be installed on State Highway 2 to allow access to its development.

In their objection NZTA said it wanted a roundabout there, instead.

It said this was because crashes in a high-speed environment were the most likely type of crash to result in death or serious injury. Right-turn bays were designed to reduce rear-end crashes.

NZTA also said in its submission that elderly vehicle occupants were “particularly at risk from side impact crashes at speeds in excess of 50kmh”.

It said the Resource Management Act required safety to be considered as well as the potential effect or effects on the environment in allowing the activity.

But Arvida’s lawyers said building a roundabout and purchasing more land to do it would cost an estimated $1 million which the company considered prohibitive at this stage.

There were no evidential grounds for a roundabout, they said.

Hansells Masterton executive chairman Alan Stewart sat through Thursday’s hearing.

The development involves the sale of some Hansells’ land, and it would share a driveway with Lansdowne Park.

Stewart said he was frustrated by NZTA’s objection.

He said during previous meetings, “NZTA officials indicated they had the ability to withdraw their objection if we agreed to close off one of our accesses, which we agreed to do.

“It appears that someone higher up subsequently overruled this.”

The obvious step would be to reduce the speed limit at the town boundary to the same 70kmh limit at the entrance to other towns in Wairarapa but NZTA had stated that the assessment of the speed in the area
was years away.

“Yet, the flashing, 70kmh signs on SH2 down at Taratahi seemed to go up overnight,” he said.

Stewart said there are already two housing developments on the southern end across from Hansells which had increased the activity on the 100kmh speed limit road, yet no roundabouts were required.

“The proposed roundabout in my opinion would be more dangerous than the proposed right-turn bay.

“Traffic leaving Masterton heading north could get up to 100kmh before arriving at the roundabout to find they are then stuck behind a vehicle waiting to turn right around the roundabout whereas the right-turn bay would take that traffic out of the way.”

Independent commissioner Lindsay Daysh asked NZTA for evidence of how a roundabout into similar housing developments had prevented accidents.

Hearing chairman, Masterton district councillor Jonathan Hooker, said he was cautious about setting a precedent for the roundabout requirement if in fact it wasn’t commonly expected.

NZTA intend to supply evidence to the hearing panel soon.

The panel was to present a report and decision in 15 days.

2 COMMENTS

  1. NZTA currently flush with cash, need to spend this on two roundabouts at the South end of Masterton. Agree with their caution for Hansells/Aravida access, it is a dangerous spot with a rise and corner each side. Turn off bay would be suitable for flat streight road.

  2. This is bizzare. NZTA demand someone pays for one here yet they deny we need two at the southern SH2 entrance to Masterton. Double standards when it suits them aye.

Comments are closed.

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