Nelson Future Access has presented three long-term options for Nelson’s transport woes. Not all of these will be submitted for funding and Waka Kotahi NZTA want your help to decide which package or combination of packages will work best for Nelson and the surrounding region. Over the next three weeks Sara Hollyman looks into what each of the tabled options will mean for Nelson.
Coastal Corridor Widening Package AKA widening Rocks Rd
Cost: $500-540 million
This package would see State Highway 6, Rocks Rd, significantly widened to include four lanes for general traffic to use 24/7 between the Annesbrook and Haven Rd roundabouts.
The option would make Rocks Rd more resilient to climate change and a 5-metre walking and cycling facility would be separated from traffic by landscaping and parking.
A panel of specialists, experienced in transport planning, environmental impacts, urban design, economic, heritage and culture say that this option would provide extra capacity for traffic.
It would reduce traffic pressure on Waimea Rd and would mean more reliable journey times into the city.
However, it is not without negatives. Apart from being the costliest of the three options at between $500 and $540 million, it would create negative impacts for people living along the route with access to their properties becoming more difficult and more property frontage impacts than the other packages.
It would also be more difficult to cross Rocks Rd and access the waterfront as well as other key destinations along Tāhunanui Drive.
Nelson City councillor Matt Lawrey, who has long been an advocate for an improved walking and cycleway around Rocks Rd, says he doesn’t understand why it has been put forward as an option.
“Maybe NZTA comes back with more detail that makes me think ‘wow, I didn’t think of that’, but what they’re presenting at the moment I don’t think it is politically or economically tenable.
“No one wants that (four lanes on Rocks Rd) for a start, it’s phenomenally expensive, it would face massive legal challenges. I think NZTA said it was to give completeness so people can see they’ve thought about all these options but personally I don’t think it’s going to fly, pushing everyone down there doesn’t really make much sense.”
Waka Kotahi NZTA regional director relationships, Jim Harland, says the proposal is realistic in the sense that it does meet transport need and it has been raised in the past as a possibility.
“We haven’t made any decision and we thought it was important to say that if you were to make that route more useable for long-term growth then you need more roading transport capacity.”
Feedback so far on the public forum is mixed for this proposal and includes arguments both for and against, including labelling the proposal “lunacy” and “the only viable option”.
To have your say go to www. nzta.govt.nz/projects/nelsonfuture-access-project