Consultation shows Nelsonians want Southern Link

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Nelsonians overwhelmingly want the Southern Link to be built, says New Zealand Transport Agency.

NZTA have today announced the results of its public consultation with the region as part of its investigation into a proposed new arterial route through Victory. It shows that the vast majority of Nelsonians feel the traffic congestion is significant and that a new route should be built.

Of the 2010 responses received, 61.4 per cent, or 1234 people, said they wanted a new road built, 24 per cent said they wanted to make the most of the existing roading network and only 10.5 per cent wanted to widen current routes.

A separate telephone survey of 500 people – 400 in Nelson and 100 in Tasman – again pointed towards building the Southern Link with 46 per cent favouring that approach, with 34 per cent supported widening the existing arterial routes and just 17 per cent wanting to make the most of the existing network.

When asked if Nelsonians thought the congestion problem in city was significant, 54.4 percent said it was very significant, 14.3 per cent said it was moderately significant, 15.3 per cent said it was somewhat significant with only 16.1 per cent saying it was not significant.

Feedback was received over five weeks about how to improve Nelson’s arterial transport network, says NZTA regional director Raewyn Bleakley.

“This feedback provides good insight into the views of a wide range of people and demonstrates the interest people have in the future of their transport network.”

Bleakley says the feedback from the public engagement will be carefully considered as agency finalises this phase of the investigation and determines the way forward.

The feedback will be used, along with other factors, to complete the Programme Business Case later this year. The business case study will include a recommended approach to improve transport along the arterial network between the Annesbrook and Haven Rd roundabouts.

Nelson MP Nick Smith says he wasn’t surprised by the findings.

“These results from NZTA’s consultation are totally consistent with surveys done by the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce, Greypower and my own electorate surveys. Those councillors and critics claiming congestion is not a problem and there is no need for the Southern Link are increasingly looking out of touch with the Nelson public.

“Nelson’s economy and population is growing strongly making it even more important that we make progress on this vital infrastructure project for the region. I face a major challenge in securing the tens of millions of dollars of Government money to make it happen in competition against many other areas. My advocacy for Nelson is made more difficult by a council that has been divided on this issue. Candidates for Nelson’s mayoralty and council need to hear this strong message of support from the public and help me get this project underway.”

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