Locals' fears noted in road upgrade

By Lawrence Gullery

Pakowhai Rd residents are being reassured road safety will be among the top priorities of a study into upgrading the road as part of the Whakatu Industrial Park expansion.

Hastings District Council said the park, which included a proposed food distribution hub, was vital to the future prosperity of Hawke's Bay and a large part of Pakowhai Rd was already being used as a major link from the park to the Port of Napier.

Hawke's Bay Today reported Pakowhai Rd resident Anne Prescott was worried about the safety factor, with 2000 extra vehicles projected to travel the road when it was upgraded.

The council's transportation manager Jag Pannu said the study would be of the whole length of Pakowhai Rd, from Stortford Lodge to the intersection with the expressway.

"This study will examine all aspects of the corridor to ensure it is capable of meeting the transport needs of the future.

"Included in the study will be an assessment of safety, speed and the need for the mitigation of traffic noise for residents."

He said there were no plans to convert any part of Pakowhai Rd to a four-lane highway.

The council's transportation team held two public meetings to collect public opinion.

"These meetings focused entirely on collecting information; there was no attempt to put forward any options for the future," Mr Pannu said.

A newsletter was also posted to residents on Pakowhai Rd which outlined the project to date.

Further meetings were planned to ensure an upgrade of Pakowhai Rd met the demands of residents and also the future needs of the roading network.

Hawke's Bay Regional Transport Committee was waiting for New Zealand Transport Agency to decide on an application to fund three projects, expected in September.

It included the Whakatu arterial road, Pakowhai Rd intersection improvements and Prebensen Drive in Napier.

Mr Pannu also recognised Shannon Tait's letter to the editor on Tuesday, asking for the plans to the Whakatu arterial road to be publicly released.

An "enquiry by design" group had identified four possible options and settled on a preferred option to improve the transport links between the Whakatu Industrial Park, Havelock North and the Port of Napier.

Talks with landowners and the community would continue ahead of a presentation to the council on August 7.

The transportation team would recommend the preferred option at the meeting.

"All options and details on the current state of the project will be available prior to the meeting on Hastings District Council's website.

"Once a decision is made by council, the project will move to its next phase of detailed engineering design and formal consultation."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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