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Heavy traffic bypass proposal

A proposed $142 million to $207m heavy traffic bypass aimed at taking trucks out of the city centre might shift the problem but not eliminate it, a Gisborne District Council meeting has been told.?

District councillor Shannon Dowsing said “the majority of the (proposed) bypass would essentially be on people’s doorsteps again anyway”.

He was speaking after councillors received a noting report outlining a Gisborne Holdings Ltd-commissioned feasibility report into a heavy traffic bypass, which would not be funded by ratepayers.

The report by Holmes Consulting LP identified a route (west to east) that would include a new intersection on Awapuni Road (SH35) at the southern end of the airport, use of a paper road, new intersections and include either a high-level or low-level crossing across the Turanganui River, or a tunnel, and follow the coastline from Kaiti Beach to join Wainui Road (SH35) at the current intersection with Sponge Bay Road.

The report costed three options.

Option 1: With a high-level river crossing - $147m to $207m.

Option 2: With a low-level river crossing - $142m to $205m

Option 3: With a tunnel - $713m to $867m.

The report described Option 2 as the most economical, with less visual impact than Option 1.

The bypass would enhance tourism and improve access and areas for land development, and there would be less road maintenance, it said.

“Traditional transportation economics alone may not yield an acceptable benefit cost ratio. Therefore it will be important to consider wider economic, social and environmental benefits in the assessment of viability of the proposal.”

Any new bypass costs would be met through third agencies such as the New Zealand Transport Agency or the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) and borrowing, but not through rates.

Borrowing could be paid for via tolling similar to the Te Puke bypass.

Environmental effects had not been studied in detail.

The report warned that the PGF and low interest rates would not last forever.

Maybe not right solution but heading in right directionA letter to councillors by GHL chairman Rob Telfer said GHL had initiated the feasibility study “due to potential for both commercial and community opportunity”.

GHL would be happy to support a business case if the council believed a bypass was desirable.

During the debate by councillors, Amber Dunn said reading the national media on such issues made her think “what could be our aspirational infrastructure project”?

“It would have to be something about a heavy transport bypass for the region. It doesn’t hurt us to be thinking aspirationally about core infrastructure projects. This is an example. It might not be the right solution but it’s in the right direction.’’

Meredith Akuhata-Brown said she was grateful for the bypass research. It was a time to consider what was required.

”I live on a very busy road and haven’t had a good sleep for a long time.”

Mr Dowsing said the bypass would not bypass anything. Essentially the bypass was just a new road

“What did the bypass achieve? Not a lot apart from relocating the problem.

Mayor Meng Foon said Gisborne was not like Auckland. It took only eight or 10 minutes to drive from Poverty Bay Golf Club to the port.

A letter from Ngati Oneone hapu chairwoman Charlotte Gibson objecting to the bypass assessment conducted by Homes Consulting was tabled at the meeting.

"As mana whenua of the area from Te Toka a Taiau through to Pouawa stream, we were not consulted on any part of the assessment and therefore regard the document to be culturally flawed. After ‘skimming’ through the document we also note that it lacks Ngati Oneone social, environmental and economic aspirations for the area and the people."

The bypass alignment proposal (from west to east) includes the following —

A new intersection on Awapuni Road (SH35) at the southern end of the Airport (assumed to be a single-lane roundabout).Route follows alignment of paper road north to railway line.Route follows Waikanae Stream alignment before connecting into Parkinson Street at the intersection of Lytton Road (assumed to be a single-lane roundabout).Route follows Parkinson Street and Innes Street (intersection of Parkinson Street and Innes Street reconfigured to provide priority to route).New intersection of Innes Street and Stanley Road (assumed to be a single-lane roundabout).Route follows railway line from Stanley Road to Grey Street (crossing Waikanae Stream parallel to existing railway bridge).New intersection of proposed route and Grey Street (assumed to be signals given proximity to railway line, adjacent intersection of Awapuni Road and Grey Street also converted to signals due to proximity to new intersection).The route and connections between Customhouse Street and Kaiti Beach Road across the Turanganui River are dependent on the option considered.Route follows Kaiti Beach Road (road assumed to be upgraded from southern entrance to port/log yards to current road end, including reconfiguring access to properties and beach areas along length).Follow coastline from Kaiti Beach Road end to end of beach area.Climb up escarpment following contours where applicable to join Wainui Road (SH35) at current intersection with Sponge Bay Road (assumed to be a single-lane roundabout).

BYPASS ROUTE: The heavy black line is the suggested route for a heavy traffic bypass in a feasibility report commissioned by Gisborne Holdings Limited. Map supplied