Safety fears in upgrade resident

By Lawrence Gullery

1 comment

A plan to upgrade Pakowhai Rd, which may include four-laning, has resident Anne Prescott calling for road safety and speed limits to be factored into construction plans before the project begins within three years.

Mrs Prescott lived on Pakowhai Rd where the Hastings District Council planned an upgrade to carry extra traffic from the proposed Whakatu food distribution centre through to the Hawke's Bay Expressway.

"They are saying there will be 2000 extra vehicles per day, that's a lot and so we're asking for the speed limit to go down to 70km/h but they're saying it's going to be 85km/h.

"And there are possible plans to four-lane the road, that would mean taking a bit of our land because I can't see that there is enough room at the moment to do that."

The Pakowhai Rd upgrade was part of an overall project to improve roads carrying traffic to the Port of Napier. It would start with the Whakatu arterial route which the council was currently consulting on.

New Zealand Transport Agency had allocated $24 million towards the overall project but it must be used by 2015.

The Whakatu and Pakowhai projects were being considered separately by the council but Mrs Prescott said they should be together.

"One has a knock-on effect to the other. I understand they are trying to do this to take heavy traffic away from Marine Parade in Napier and make the roads around Whakatu safer.

"But I am not sure if 2000 extra vehicles a day is going to make our road safe."

Mrs Prescott said it was already a tight fit for trucks passing each other on Pakowhai Rd's Chesterhope Bridge, which was also used by cyclists commuting to work in Hastings or Napier cities.

"We also have a school on this road which the council has to think about. Really, it comes down to the safety of our community."

Mrs Prescott said she wanted the council and project leader Opus to look at an alternative route which would see an arterial road from Pakowhai Country Park across to the expressway, avoiding Pakowhai Rd.

She was happy to hear from Opus that road safety would be a major consideration and feedback from recent public meetings on the road upgrade would be used in the final plan.

Hastings council had not responded to questions by late yesterday.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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