Over my term as MP for Waikato, I have been pushing hard for road safety improvements in our region. I have held and attended public meetings, kept a strong line of communication with Transport Minister Twyford and Associate Minister Genter, as well constant engagement with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and of course the affected communities.
Following the consultation I have undertaken with our local communities, I have been representing your serious concerns, seeking updates, timelines and confirmations about SH26/Avenue Road intersection and provision of safe community connection at Tamahere.
Today I received a number of commitments from NZTA in relation to desperately needed road safety improvements, and they have finally responded to my ongoing requests.
NZTA have confirmed work on the temporary roundabout at SH26/Avenue Road intersection is expected to start in October, and be completed by the end of the year. Construction of the roundabout will be timed to ensure as little disruption to traffic as possible. This temporary roundabout will not be the final solution for the intersection, but will most definitely upgrade safety in the short term. Furthermore, the installation of the temporary fixture will give NZTA operational experience to apply to a permanent solution, which is being investigated.
Alongside the installation of the roundabout, the short term commitment has been made to install a temporary extension of the 50km/h and 70km/h speed zone limits further west of this intersection; approximately 170 metres towards Hamilton. This will become permanent some time after the roundabout is completed. I am delighted that we finally have a commitment to speed zone changes.
Both of these temporary measures are welcome developments in addressing the dangers on this stretch of road. It is a win for Morrinsville and Waikato road users, and I am extremely pleased and proud to have been a strong advocate for this change.
We are in the final week of my petition seeking safer community connection for Tamahere. The public meeting held on 12 September saw over 100 residents sharing their concerns for cyclists and pedestrians in the Tamahere area, which is experiencing rapid growth.
NZTA have today assured me they are investigating solutions for the East/West crossing points to maintain lower operating speeds through the intersections. Further, NZTA will be finalising a survey of schools, community and cyclists in the area, completing draft layouts, safety reviews and engaging in public consultation. This is great news for Tamahere, and I will be following up on the progress of these developments very carefully in the coming months. I will continue to work hard for results.