Dealing with those trucks

Peter Carr

Early last month I promised to return to the traffic incursion that will be afforded by a new quarry at the southern end of Cambridge,

This on dairy farmland (shame!) currently owned by a local fruit packing operator. Up to 400,000 tonnes of sand will be removed annually for a period of 25 years according to Fulton Hogan, the planned operator of the site.

Last week in Cambridge News Arthur Fulton cleverly – and truthfully – stated that at its peak the operation could incur 200 truckloads in a working day. The clever part was that he failed to mention the return of those 200 trucks in empty state, thus incurring 400 movements.

In the same newspaper article was a photograph indicating that truck drivers could (but not possibly would) use the new islands formation at Hydro Road to affect a 180 degree turn to give them access to the Waikato Expressway north. Now think this through – is the heavy northbound traffic on State Highway 1 going to grind to a halt when in excess of 150 (15 hourly) slow and loaded trucks desiring to head north execute a turn at this point? This on the understanding that the remainder will not be heading north.

Likewise, how will the empty trucks returning from the north approach the quarry entrance – through the town or similarly coming off the bypass, using the Hydro Road turning point, thus further creating traffic mayhem? Of course, they will not as the truck owners will no doubt be mainly owner operators who will decide upon their own routing.

Clearly NZTA (who own SH1) and the Waipā District Council (who oversee the roading entrance to the quarry) need to get their heads together and address the orphan in this exercise – the lack of a northbound onramp to the bypass – which to be fair to Mr Fulton is what he has attempted to support.

NZTA have given a firm ‘niet’ to enhancing the by-pass at this geographical point. It’s a matter that has been postulated by many Cambridge residents even prior to the Fulton Hogan initiative. Both road-managing bodies mentioned above are overlayed with slow and frustrating bureaucracy when it comes to planning. Both need to step forward and make the obvious happen. Or how will they face the widow of an innocent car driver who falls fatally under the wheels of an extremely heavy truck and trailer attempting to undertake a crazy, dangerous manoeuvre?

Fulton Hogan are a well-respected company just attempting to create new business opportunity. They have submitted appropriate and timely Resource Management Act and associated documents. This is your opportunity to lobby both organisations to affect a commonsense solution. The quarry will not go away. The trucks will not go away. But increased dangerous road operations will materially arise.

If you think that you would like to see a huge increase in truck traffic near the Anglican church and long queues on the hill approaching the Town Hall then just sit back and do nothing.

The paper’s readers have watched the frustration experienced by my neighbour John Hansen when he introduced a novel and sensible alternative to roading direction matters at the proposed Piarere roundabout. The great clobbering bureaucracy that is NZTA did not give him any chance to make his point in a professional and friendly manner.

Their mind was made up. The ball is in your court.

See: Quarry details unveiled

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