Driving faster traffic fix
By Grant Johnston
Cr Alan Empson is so determined that Council can come up with a cheaper and faster solution to the issue of main street heavy traffic he has mapped out an alternative route himself.
A report by Opus International Consultants to Council has indicated that a ring road system to either side of Alexandra Street could cost $8Million, while the $16Million western arterial is at least 20 years away.
Cr Empson’s route requires a roundabout to be installed at the intersection of Alexandra and Tawhiao streets. It also requires a reprioritising along Mahoe Street to give ‘bypass’ traffic right of way over Mutu Street and Arawata Street, crossing into George Street and linking with Albert Park Drive.
Cr Empson is the first to acknowledge that this solution is far from perfect and would create issues with Mahoe and Tawhiao Street residents.
“The plan would be to have heavy traffic using this route during business hours, then reverting to Alexandra Street in the evenings and at weekends.”
Cr Empson says success of the route would rely on the co-operation of the transport industry.
Heavy traffic travelling to and from the industrial/dairy factory area at the north western end of town could use the new roundabout linking with Mahoe Street through to Kihikihi Road heading south, Arawata Street heading East or north via Racecourse Road to Ohaupo Road (the latter happens to some extent now).
Cr Empson says it would not remove heavy traffic heading to and from Puniu Road area, but would remove a significant amount of heavy traffic during business hours. He says the strengths of the solution are that it is cheap, flexible and reversible and would reduce traffic in some busy areas of town. Weaknesses he has identified are that it requires a buy-in from the community and transport industry, noise and vibration for Mahoe and Tawhiao Street residents and increased travel of 500 metres from the rail crossing on Alexandra Street to the Sloane Street roundabout.
Cr Empson believes if the community worked together, the suggested route could provide a short to medium term solution to Te Awamutu’s heavy traffic conundrum. He says if the route had Council, community and transport industry support it could be trialed to see how it works.