NZTA ‘not honest’

Otaihanga Roundabout mainly for Xpressway trucks,says Save Kapiti

 By Alan Tristram
Bianca Begovich alleges NZTA dishonesty
Bianca Begovich alleges NZTA dishonesty

The announcement by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) that the Otaihanga roundabout is for ‘safety improvements’ is only half the story, says Save Kapiti spokesperson Bianca Begovich.

She says the roundabout will actually enable work for the huge number of truck movements required to access the proposed Expressway construction site at Otaihanga.

And she points out NZTA did not regard the section between Otaihanga and Waikanae as unsafe until it became a selling point for the proposed Expressway project.

Mrs Begovich adds: “NZTA’s own figures show that there hasn’t been a serious accident at this intersection in the last three years.” But she says Save Kapiti do agree that safety improvements are needed along the stretch from Otaihanga to Waikanae.

Mrs Begovich says that these improvements didn’t happen earlier because NZTA did not then regard the section between Otaihanga and Waikanae as unsafe. Now, she says,

it’s became a selling point.

Mrs Begovich warns: “Another massive 4-8 lane motorway is not going to improve safety. Simple improvements such as wire rope barriers and a few other tweaks are what is

needed to improve safety and address congestion along the current State Highway One (SH1).”

“If NZTA were so concerned about safety improvements, they would have invested in wire rope barriers and other improvements 12 years ago as they were supposed to.”

NZTA ‘isn’t being honest’

Mrs Begovich says that NZTA isn’t being honest about the reason why they are suddenly investing in a roundabout at this location.

“What they aren’t telling us is that this roundabout will actually enable work for the huge number of truck movements required to access the proposed

Expressway construction site at Otaihanga,” she alleges.

“The proposed Expressway requires vast amounts of fill and is set to be built on swampy peat and sand. The quarries are to the east of SH1 and the

proposed Expressway is to the west.

“NZTA documents show over 3 million cubic metres of dirt will need to be moved to build the Expressway, ands (there is a need) to import fill and remove sand and peat. Based on this information, it is estimated over 100 trucks a day will use the intersection.

“That’s why the roundabout is being built, to ensure the trucks can enter and exit the SH1/Otaihanga intersection easily.

“Obviously that will create increased congestion at this point especially as it will be a two-lane roundabout on a one-lane road. Haven’t they learned anything from the Otaki roundabout?

“This all leads up to even more hold ups for traffic on SH1 for the duration of the project, if it goes ahead” says Mrs Begovich.

Save Kapiti’s appeal

Save Kapiti have lodged an appeal on the Board of Inquiry decision in favour of the proposed Expressway on the grounds that the project was not compared to the Western Link Road (WLR) which was approved and consented and in the Kapiti Coast District Plan.

“The real tragedy is that none of this is necessary. If the WLR had been built as planned, we would already be driving on the alternative route that addresses our safety and

congestion issues without creating even more delays and problems, as the proposed Expressway will,” Mrs Begovich says.