Speed cut looms for noisy trucks

By John Cousins

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Speeds could be cut to 70km/h at the northern end of Takitimu Drive so that the Tauranga City Council can stop the racket made by trucks' engine braking.

The council was yesterday updated on progress towards putting some teeth into what was currently a voluntary measure by truckies as they slowed down approaching the Elizabeth St roundabout from the port.

It was revealed that it would be illegal to introduce an engine braking ban on this section of Takitimu Drive because the speed limit was 80km/h.

The limit would have to be lowered to 70km/h.

Braking started well before truckies reached the roundabout's 50km/h zone, disturbing residents who lived above Takitimu Drive on Selwyn St and Williams St.

Keith Fraser, speaking on behalf of Williams St resident Trudi Kinsella, said the noise reached 85 to 95 decibels which on a still night was ''quite dramatic''.

''You would certainly not want to live there.''

Mrs Kinsella's submission to the council's draft traffic and parking bylaw accused the various agencies involved in the development and maintenance of Takitimu Drive of buck-passing and disinterest on the issue of engine braking.

Her submission opposed the removal of the rule from the current bylaw that it was unlawful to operate engine brakes or similar devices on Takitimu Drive and Marsh St.

Mr Fraser warned that removing the rule would result in an open slather for truckies to use their engine brakes as they approached the roundabout - further impacting on the quality of life for nearby residents.

''It would be a breath of fresh air if the council policed the issue.''

Council transport operations manager Martin Parkes said they were entering talks with the authority responsible for Takitimu Drive, the New Zealand Transport Agency, on reducing the speed limit to 70km/h along this section of the highway.

If that was successful, the agency could then delegate power to the council to make and administer an engine-braking bylaw.

However the council would have to rely on the police to enforce the bylaw because only the police could issue tickets for a moving violation.

Yesterday's meeting supported the continuation of negotiations with the agency to address the issue of engine braking along this section of Takitimu Drive.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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