The NZ Transport Agency is inviting people in Nelson to make their voices heard during a five-week period of public engagement that kicks off next week as part of the Nelson Southern Link Investigation (NSLI).
NZ Transport Agency regional director Raewyn Bleakley says the Transport Agency will be gathering public feedback from Wednesday March 23 through to Sunday April 24 on how to improve Nelson’s arterial transport network as part of the Programme Business Case stage of the NSLI. The Programme Business Case is the second of four stages of the investigation.
The investigation was launched in 2015 after being brought forward as part of the Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Package.
Ms Bleakley says local views and feedback are integral to finalising the Business Case.
“We’re asking people to imagine the city years into the future and have a conversation with us about how we can improve the performance of Nelson’s arterial network between the Annesbrook and Haven roundabouts.
“There are two key problems with Nelson’s arterial routes – congestion and accessibility. Congestion causes travel delays for motorists on the city’s two arterial routes, and the poor infrastructure on Rocks Road limits accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists, which makes these active modes a less attractive travel option.
“This is not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote for a new road – we want to open the floor to hear people’s views on proposed approaches for dealing with these problems. While a new route for the state highway, such as the previously identified Southern Link alignment, is being considered as one potential solution, it isn’t the only possible approach to address the issues.
“Now is the time in the investigation where we look at all the possible ideas. We’ve been developing some initial ideas and we also want to hear the community’s views on other options and combinations of options."
Ms Bleakley says because the NSLI and the Rocks Road Walking and Cycling Investigation are linked, it is important that key decisions made on both projects are informed by one another as they advance through development.
“We’ll also be using this five-week engagement period to provide an update on the development of walking and cycling options for Rocks Road, and we’ll be looking for feedback on those as well.”
Four public information sessions will be held in April in Nelson CBD, Stoke, and Richmond where people can ask investigation representatives questions and provide feedback. They are:
Background information will be available from 23 March at www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/nelson-southern-link(external link), at the Nelson Public Libraries, and the Richmond Library during their opening hours.
The Nelson Southern Link Investigation Strategic Business Case was released in December 2015, providing a high-level analysis that identified two key problems for Nelson’s arterial routes – congestion and accessibility. Congestion is a problem in peak hours on Nelson’s two arterial routes and results in travel delays. Accessibility is an issue for walking and cycling in Nelson as the current infrastructure on SH6 Rocks Road is constraining walking and cycling opportunities.
The second stage in the NSLI is the development of a Programme Business Case, which is underway now. There is one public engagement period as part of this stage. Feedback received during public engagement will help to determine the final programme which could be progressed to the next business case stage, if approved.
The Programme Business Case is expected to finish later this year and it will include a recommended approach for addressing the problems and improve the transport network.
Before any options identified in the final approach can be progressed there are two further important phases of the business case approach to complete; the Indicative Business Case (stage three), which is designed to sharpen and narrow down to one or two preferred options to be further developed, and the Detailed Business Case (stage four), which will confirm a final option in more detail.
Each phase of the investigation is subject to funding approvals, which determine if it will proceed to the next stage. It also provides a reasonable level of certainty that it will meet any relevant consenting requirements.
The public will be given the opportunity to be involved at each stage of the process.