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New timeline for Nelson’s Rocks Road walking and cycling options

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More time needs to be spent investigating the Rocks Road cycling and walking facility to ensure the transport system in Nelson is prepared for the challenges of moving more people and freight into the future, climate change and sea level rise, according to the NZ Transport Agency.

Identifying a short to medium term solution for the SH6 Rocks Road walking and cycling facility had been considered as an accelerated part of the Nelson Future Access project*. However, the risk of proceeding with that ahead of the wider transport investigation has been found to be too great.

Investigations of the Rocks Road corridor by the Transport Agency have found that the relationship between the sea-wall, resilience, increasing occurrence of storm surges, and sea level rise due to climate change is more complex than previously thought, says Transport Agency Director Regional Relationships Jim Harland.

“We need to ensure that what is proposed and constructed on Rocks Road to benefit pedestrians and cyclists will work in an integrated way with the rest of the transport system. Any solution needs to be long-lasting and robust, particularly given the damage we saw in early 2018 with the ex-cyclone storm surges,” he says.

The Transport Agency says more analysis is needed on the available options for Rocks Road and how they will fit within the wider transport system. It is likely that those options will need to be broader than those previously considered in 2016.

The Rocks Road walking and cycling investigation will now be aligned with the wider transport network study between Stoke and central Nelson.

Regional Transport Committee Chair Councillor Mike Rutledge says while the delay is disappointing to both Council and the community, it is important the process is done well.

“Nelson City Council has a long-held vision for improving connections from the city to the sea. What happens on Rocks Road is utterly crucial to that. We support the thorough and robust process the Transport Agency is going through to ensure any facility is future-proofed, but we urge them to keep the momentum going on this important project.”

The finished investigation is now scheduled to be brought to Nelson City Council in August 2020 and the Transport Agency Board in September 2020.

The Transport Agency’s business case team is aiming to have a set of short-listed options ready for the community in March 2020 with a preferred option arrived at by June 2020.

“Councillors, stakeholders and the wider community will be engaged in this process as it develops this year and into 2020,” says Mr Harland.

More information on the Nelson Future Access project can be found at: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/nelson-future-access-project

Updated FAQs at this link: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/nelson-future-access-project/frequently-asked-questions/

*The Transport Agency’s 2018–21 National Land Transport Programme includes funding allocation to enable the investigations for the Nelson Future Access Project by the Transport Agency, including a detailed business case.

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