NZTA is proposing widening Rocks Rd as one of the options for solving Nelson’s transport issues. Photo: File.

Nelson’s transport plans revealed

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The options to lay the Southern Link debate to rest have been revealed with a range of packages due to go out for public consultation this week.

These packages are part of the NZTA-led Nelson Future Access project and will be presented to a Nelson City Council meeting tomorrow, according to project manager Rhys Palmer.

The packages aim to solve the long-running Southern Link conundrum, which could see a new highway going inland, between Rocks Rd and Waimea Rd.

The packages consist of short term optimisation activities – which include: core cycling and pedestrian network, minor bus network improvements, local area traffic calming measures, intersection upgrades, speed management, revising parking and public transport fares and marketing and promoting different ways to travel to work and school.

The long-term packages include priority lanes – adding lanes to SH6/Rocks Rd and Waimea Rd/Rutherford St (peak period clearways) for priority traffic, a coastal route – widening of the SH6 Coastal State Highway Corridor (providing two lanes in each direction) for general traffic and building a new inland route.

NZTA says the packages represent key themes and are purposefully different to understand the trade-offs and challenges.

“The community engagement narrative is based on the principal that we will optimise the existing transport network first in the short-term, but before we do that, we need to understand the long-term solution.”

Feedback from the community on these potential packages is scheduled to start following the meeting and run until 27 July – a delay from the previously planned April engagement period.

A brochure on the packages will be available at libraries and the council, and Rhys says drop-in sessions will be held in Victory and the Saturday market.

The feedback will be supplied to the Project Reference Group (PRG) to consider and score, and the business case completion is then scheduled to be brought to council in February 2021 and the NZTA board the following month.

Rhys said the PRG, a group of representatives from community, business and transport interests, met last week to give feedback on the engagement material that will go out to the public.

“We got some good feedback from them around some of the questions that we had proposed to ask.”

Nelson has been considering an additional road link between the city and Annesbrook since the 1960s to accommodate traffic growth.

In 2004, the Southern Link proposal was rejected by the Environment Court and since then there have been numerous investigations into a new roading infrastructure.

NZTA see the Nelson Future Access Project as the next step. The project is being led in collaboration with the council.

Based on the needs of all users, it is mindful of the history of attempts over three decades to imp