AN HOUR before local media was due to gather at GJ Gardner on Te Ngae Rd to hear a big announcement from Transport Minister Simon Bridges there was a minor crash at the nearby Tarawera roundabout.

It was slightly ironic timing, given a new roundabout to improve traffic flow was to be one of the key upgrades announced. Although the truck involved was moved out of the way, traffic quickly built up with rows of cars waiting to pass.

It's a not unfamiliar scenario for Eastside residents and those that regularly travel the busy route in and out of town.

Every time there is an accident, big or small, or the traffic lights decide to play up or there is heavy traffic during rush hour, there are delays. Once stuck in it, there is nowhere to go. Yesterday's announcement of $24 million Government funding will therefore be welcomed by many Rotorua residents-who will just be wishing it could happen faster than the two to three years it's expected to take.

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It will also hopefully be the start of getting residents, businesses and iwi some certainty around what is happening roading-wise on the eastside.

No one will have been too surprised to hear the minister concede yesterday the long touted Rotorua Eastern Arterial is unlikely to happen. That's been clear for some time. That admission is a step in the right direction, the next step is for the designation around the land to be officially lifted.

Mr Bridges says the Government wants to be absolutely sure the REA is not needed before doing that. Making that call needs to be a priority so all those affected can get the certainty they need to move forward.

THE positivity and courage shown by Laura Stuart is truly remarkable. She has gone from being a fit, active young woman to one getting to grips with possibly a lifetime in a wheelchair. Some will say she knew the risks. And she did, but she loves mountain biking so did it all the same. She made it clear the last thing she wanted by sharing her story was to put others off riding.

Her courage in tackling her drastically changed lifestyle head on should serve as an inspiration to us all. With an attitude like hers, there's no doubt many more
adventures await her.

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ROTORUA DAILY POST
2 Mar, 2016 11:30am
4 minutes to read