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Harper Road the safer option for trucks

Gisborne District Council defends heavy traffic route choice.

Harper Road has been defended as the safer route from Waimata for trucks trying to link up with Gisborne District Council's proposed heavy traffic route along State Highway 35 (via Awapuni Road/Customhouse Street/Wainui Road).

Former deputy mayor David Scott told the council's regulatory hearings committee — taking public submissons on the draft Traffic and Parking Bylaw 2021 — that King Road, not Harper Road, had previously been selected as the link road and was the “correct” road to the route.

Council officers, asked to report back to the committee on a second day of hearings, said sight lines north from the intersection of King Road and State Highway 2 were unsafe for heavy vehicles and Harper Road was the safer choice.

Earlier, Mr Scott said using Harper Road ignored the route planning undertaken by the local authority in the 1990s, and that Harper Road suffered from regular surface flooding.

The council should not waste this investment or be environmentally irresponsble where roading upgrades were undertaken to prepare the route for increased logging traffic.

“There would not be one roading engineer in Aotearoa/New Zealand who would support and recommend re-routing heavy traffic away from a carefully planned and funded heavy traffic route (which is not on a flood plain) to an inadequate, unstable road on a regular flood plain.

“The Waimata to state highway route for logging trucks /heavy traffic was well planned and funded many years ago.

“The initial planning was commenced by the previous East Cape United Council and completed by Gisborne District Council,” Mr Scott said.

The council received 84 submissions on the proposed heavy traffic route, with 66 percent support.

The hearing report said support was generally from submitters living on or near affected local roads and opposition from residents living on Awapuni Road.

The main concern raised by residents centred on improving safety and reducing noise and congestion on their roads.

Arguments in favour of the route restrictions moving heavy vehicles off Ormond included:

— Reducing noise, vibration and congestion on Ormond Road.

— Improving safety for cyclists.

— Lowering the cost of maintaining Ormond Road.

Some submissions suggested there would be a potential negative economic impact, with one citing the extended drive time from plantation via the state highways.

Several submitters noted Awapuni Road was already congested at peak times and this would be compounded by the introduction of an additional 400 vehicles a day.

Eastland Wood Council opposed the proposal, citing safety concerns around the number of schools on the route, the impact the additional traffic volumes would have on Awapuni Road and its residents and the increased distance to port for Forestry trucks.

New Zealand Police and Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ), in its submissions, sought clarification around how the draft heavy traffic route would affect it.

The hearings agenda said the draft bylaw stated emergency vehicles were exempt when used on official duties.

Council staff have recommended this be expanded to explicitly exempt emergency vehicles and their activities.

The regulatory hearings committee will deliberate in private before sending traffic and parking bylaw recommendations to a full council meeting on December 13.

Council staff have recommended to the hearing committee that draft proposals concerning heavy vehicle route restrictions, as well as inner harbour parking controls, a one-way route over Titirangi, permitting wheeled recreational services in the CBD and cycle lanes be adopted.

Too busy: Submitters to the council's proposed heavy traffic bylaw say Awapuni Road will become more congested with the introduction of an extra 400 vehicles a day. Pictures by Liam Clayton
Logging trucks on Awapuni Road.
Heavy traffic on Awapuni Road.

  1. Kim Holland says:

    Heavy traffic makes up 4% of all vehicle movements on Ormond Road; the Council report and options presented were always skewed to this outcome

    1. Winston Moreton says:

      I am not a traffic engineer but I suggest independent professional advice is preferable to slanted self interest by the port and Eastland Wood Council lobby. Let’s get behind the rail link eh?

      1. Ian Bell, Wairoa says:

        The rail to Gisborne is stuffed – that train has left the station.