Residents rally against 'Third World' road

By John Cousins

The $700,000 upgrade of the northern end of Bethlehem Rd could be fast-tracked after nearby residents warned that someone could be maimed or killed.

Their 84-signature petition to the council yesterday prompted Councillor Murray Guy to describe the 1km section as a Third World piece of road.

Petition organiser Steve McCarthy said waiting another three years for the poorly designed road to be upgraded, including footpaths, was not acceptable.

"The road is dangerous with blind bends, and is breaking up."

Mr McCarthy said that having no footpath forced pedestrians on to the road. Many were elderly people or school children who had nowhere to go from passing traffic.

"I have personally seen several narrow escapes. This section of road requires your immediate attention before someone is injured," he wrote.

Mr McCarthy said the absolute minimum should be a kerb and channelling and a footpath to connect with the Inlet Views footpath.

The area was also popular with cyclists, he said.

"Many children walk to the schools and many elderly people from the three retirement villages use the area for regular exercise ... we have a recipe for disaster."

The road was breaking up in several places, especially at the edges near the church and at the entrance to Hangarau Marae. Water pooled up to 200mm deep.

"The attempted repairs are just a waste of money."

Council transport operations manager Martin Parkes said the road did not meet current standards and the speed limit had been lowered.

The council asked for a report on the costs to upgrade the road and, if it was re-prioritised, what projects would be pushed back.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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