Flyover advocate Hansen stands firm

Flyover campaigner John Hansen says evidence accepted by the Environment Court over the Piarere intersection of State Highway 1 and 29 is out of touch.

In ruling Waka Kotahi could go ahead with a roundabout proposal at the intersection, Chief Environment Court Judge David Fitzpatrick quoted traffic planner Nerissa Harrison saying right-turning traffic out of SH29 into SH1 towards the west “is currently moderately delayed in the weekday peaks”.

“In the morning peak there is an average delay of 15 seconds and a typical queue length of 26m; and in the afternoon peak there is an average delay of 23 seconds and a typical queue length of 51m.”

The judge also heard there was “anecdotal evidence” indicating significant delays and long queues on Friday and Sunday afternoons.

“The people who use this intersection frequently will know she is totally out of touch,” Hansen told The News.

In listing the benefits of the roundabout proposal, Waka Kotahi refers to 21 crashes within 50 metres of the present T intersection between December 2015 and November 2020.

The suggestion the information provided is outdated will ring bells with residents calling for a third bridge across the Waikato River in Cambridge. They argue the information being provided to the transport agency is also becoming redundant.

The roundabout project, expected to take two years to build, doesn’t have a start date yet and opponents believe it may be delayed because of the pressing need for road repairs elsewhere in the North Island following major storm damage.

Hansen said the roundabout was only a stop gap solution and when proposed was expected to be efficient for 30 years.

“Now it looks like it may reach its capacity in half that time, with the increase in traffic volume.”

He argues a flyover like the one at the foot of the Bombay Hills which merges traffic from State Highways 1 and 2 smoothly is the best solution.

Waka Kotahi successfully argued it had looked at other options and the roundabout, costed at $40 million, was the best choice.

The new roundabout will provide for a connection with the Waikato Expressway when it is extended further south.

Hansen’s plans did not get traction with the court because he did not have supporting data and evidence – but they have drawn support in some areas.

The National Fieldays Society, National MP Louise Upston, the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and the Automobile Association told the court they supported the plan.

Flyover supporters may argue the AA reflected the views of other roundabout supporters who made submissions when it said it would have preferred a grade separation – a flyover – interchange and that the roundabout would worsen State Highway One traffic flow.


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