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Nelson Regional Transport Committee advances key transport investigations to next phase

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On Monday this week a programme for advancing Nelson’s Southern Link Investigation and Rocks Road Walking and Cycling Project was presented to the Nelson Regional Transport Committee for its review.

The inter-relationship between these two projects was recognised and has been brought together as Nelson’s Future Access project, says Transport Agency Director Regional Relationships Jim Harland.

The Committee supported the proposal and scope and has recommended that Nelson City Council endorses it, he says.

Wider investigations in the detailed business case, including Nelson’s Southern Link proposal, will be completed before the end of 2020 to inform the 2021-24 Regional and National Land Transport Programmes. The proposed programme scope includes fast-tracking work to identify by mid-2019 whether any enhancements can be delivered within the Rocks Road area in the short to medium term.

Nelson City Council will have the opportunity to endorse this work programme at its next meeting on 13 December.

“Together with Council, we propose to work closely with the Nelson community and key stakeholder groups over the coming months to investigate and develop a detailed investment programme for Nelson’s transport system,” says Jim Harland.

A detailed business case will recommend a programme of investments to deliver a safe, accessible and resilient transport system for Nelson that meets the diverse needs of residents, businesses, visitors and the community. As part of this process, the investigations will consider the need for, timing and/or triggers for an alternative arterial route to Rocks Road and Waimea Road to resolve the long standing uncertainty about the Nelson Southern Link.

“Rocks Road is increasingly vulnerable to major weather events due to climate change, and cyclists are being placed at risk by having to share the road with heavy vehicles. At the same time, the current SH6 route prevents the waterfront from realising its potential as a key visitor destination,” says Chair of the Nelson Regional Transport Committee, Mike Rutledge.

“That’s why we’re making it a priority to investigate whether we can make any short to medium term walking and cycling improvements on SH6 Rocks Road, without compromising any longer-term solutions that we may consider.

“It’s essential we have an efficient and resilient corridor for freight to reach our port, safe and accessible connections for pedestrians and cyclists, a vibrant and thriving CBD, and a world-class waterfront for everyone to enjoy,” says Cr Rutledge.

“We’ll be working closely with the community and other key stakeholders to make sure the business case considers the needs of all affected people including residents, business customers, tourists and freight operators, and looks at how we can make best use of all existing transport infrastructure as well as emerging technologies,” says Mr Harland.

Background
As part of the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) 2018-21, announced earlier this year, $3 million of funding was committed for the next phase of the Nelson Southern Link Investigation (including SH6 Rocks Road Walking and Cycling).

The SH6 Nelson Southern Link Investigation was included by Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman Regional Transport Committees in their 2018-21 Regional Land Transport Programmes. This inclusion was in recognition of the importance to the wider regional economy of securing an efficient, accessible and resilient arterial system in Nelson city.

The Nelson Regional Transport Committee also gave high priority to the SH6 Rocks Road Walking and Cycling Investigation in the 2018-21 Nelson Regional Land Transport Programme.

Since August, Nelson City Council and the Transport Agency have been working on a proposal to advance both projects, including an option to fast track enhancements on Rocks Road in the short to medium term.

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