State Highway 1 is busy, carrying around 8000 vehicles per day, and this significantly increases during the peak visitor season in summer.
The current state highway alignment with a downhill approach and tight curves intersects with three closely spaced local roads and that poses a safety risk. A recent investigation identified that many people feel unsafe using the intersections, particularly pedestrians trying to cross Ludstone Road to access schools.
The current highway layout has limited visibility, inadequate capacity for turning movements, and pedestrians cross in challenging locations. Accordingly, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians (including school children) are at risk when travelling through this area.
Following a review of possible solutions and engagement with Kaikoura District Council, the NZ Transport Agency is recommending a state highway deviation to address safety and accessibility.
Public consultation on the Kaikoura state highway deviation was held from 26 July until 25 August 2017.
The Transport Agency was very pleased with the wide range of feedback, and thank everyone for taking the time to provide comment on the plans to improve safety in central Kaikoura, including at the three closely spaced intersections at West End, Ludstone Road and Whaleway Station Road, where pedestrian access will become more difficult with increased tourist numbers in the town.
More than 160 responses were received on the safety changes, with there being a mixed response to what is proposed. The Transport Agency will now take time to assess all the feedback, including the alternative options and suggestions made by submitters on how to improve safety along this section of SH1.
While slightly more people opposed the realignment proposal than supported it in part or full, the majority agreed that the proposal would provide safer access for everyone.
A number of submitters were concerned about the number of trucks travelling along Beach Road and suggested a bypass should be built instead of the deviation.
Others were concerned about the properties that would be affected by the new highway deviation, as well as the possible impact on other businesses and the changes in local road connections.
We will now take time to assess all the comments and engage further with iwi, affected parties and the Kaikoura District Council to help inform a final decision on the way forward. We expect this additional engagement will take some time so the final decision will be made toward the end of October 2017.