Stepping out on Motueka’s High Street is about to get safer for everyone, with an upgraded pedestrian crossing and intersection improvements. Work starts Monday, 2 August.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency expects work on the traffic signals to be completed by early December this year, subject to weather. All activity on the safety improvements will be completed by April 2022.
In August 2020, Waka Kotahi received $6.8 million as part of the Government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to improve safety on Motueka High Street, SH60.
Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight says these safety improvements will ensure everyone who uses High Street can get to where they are going safely, whether they are driving through or visiting Motueka’s bustling town centre.
“High Street is a busy road with lots of people driving, walking and cycling. By making the intersections safer with a roundabout and traffic signals, and replacing the existing zebra crossing on High Street near Wallace Street with traffic signals, everyone will be able to get to where they are going more safely.”
The changes will also help traffic flow better during busy times and make it easier for people to enter High Street from side streets.
Motueka Councillor David Ogilvie says these safety improvements have been a long time coming and it is a relief the project is finally at the construction stage.
“As one of the busiest roads in Tasman the need to ensure safety whilst maintaining the all-important flow of traffic is paramount.”
These safety improvements have been shared with the community, first in 2017, and again this year once funding was confirmed and Waka Kotahi had updated more detailed designs.
“During our recent engagement, we heard some community members were concerned about the proposed removal of some of the trees on High Street,” says Ms Speight.
“In light of this, we have further reviewed our designs and are able to keep five trees that were going to be removed.
“We will still need to remove some trees to provide space for the new traffic signals. These trees are in the road reserve and we need this space for the turning lanes at the intersections, to help drivers turn right.
“Removing trees is not something we ever do lightly, and we have given this a lot of careful thought. Unfortunately, without removing some of the trees, we cannot make the intersections any safer for people walking and driving, nor enable people to easily access High Street from the side streets,” she says.
As part of the project, Waka Kotahi will plant nine new trees in planter boxes, and several low-level native planting beds in various locations along High Street and at the intersections. Waka Kotahi is also investigating planting a titoki, well suited to the Motueka environment, in a new tree pit, near Bowater Toyota.
Councillor Ogilvie says the Tasman District Council has been working with Waka Kotahi on this project and supports the aims.
“In addition to these important safety improvements, in the coming years, the Council will be engaging with the Motueka community to develop an appropriate streetscaping plan. This will consider a range of aspects around the town centre including planting, parking, active travel, public transport, and open spaces.”
With construction starting on Monday 2 August, Waka Kotahi will ensure minimal impact to businesses and will provide regular updates on the work.
Most of the construction will take place during the week from 7am-5pm. High street will remain open to traffic at all times. There will be times where construction will be carried out overnight. During overnight works, traffic management will be in place with up to ten-minute delays, which will be well advertised in advance. Further information about construction will be provided to businesses and the community over the coming days.
Construction on the new roundabout at the Old Wharf Road and High Street intersection will start in September 2021 and is expected to be completed by April 2022. All on-road construction will be paused during the busy summertime (2 December 2021 – 11 February 2022). We will look to do some off-road construction activity at this time that will not affect traffic.
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