30 August 2019
Hon Phil Twyford and Hon Julie Anne Genter
RE: Road Safety in Morrinsville – the Avenue Road/SH26 Intersection and Speed Zone Extension
I write representing the concerns of my constituents in the Morrinsville community, and for those who travel through Morrinsville. My constituents and I urgently need a safe solution to traffic management at the Avenue Road/SH26 intersection, including the extension of the 50km/h speed zone further west on SH26.
On 18 March 2019, over 200 residents and business owners attended my public meeting to discuss this issue and the failure by the NZTA to meet several 2018 deadlines for upgrades. They loudly and clearly voiced their concerns around the future of this intersection; the dire need for safety improvements and for the 50km/h speed zone to be extended away from the Avenue Road Intersection. Several officials were present and spoke including; Mayor Jan Barnes, Waikato Road Policing Manager Inspector Marcus Lynam, and the NZTA Acting Regional Relationship Manager Ross I’Anson.
On 12 April 2019 I received a letter from Mr I’Anson confirming the investigation of options to install a temporary roundabout which, once installed, would be monitored to determine if it was operationally viable long term. Mr I’Anson stated that a decision on the temporary roundabout would be made by the end of June 2019. The letter went on to explain that, as part of the Government’s Safe Network Programme, the NZTA would look at extending the change to 50km/h and 70km/h speed zones on SH26 away from the Avenue Road Intersection.
It is now the end of August, and I have had no further news from the NZTA or yourselves on either of these proposed safety measures. I have followed up with you & Mr I’Anson through a series of letters, Parliamentary written questions and phone calls – no satisfactory answers have been received. I also find it is disrespectful to the safety needs of the Morrinsville community that your response to my advocacy as their MP, is to further stymy the process by prohibiting NZTA from engaging with me without Ministerial permission.
Additional disappointment comes in the form of the Safe Network Programme which, despite claiming to prioritise Waikato in the first year, is nine months old but has no answer for whether changes will be made to the Avenue Road intersection or the SH26 speed zones. Nor does it provide a complete list of all projects to be covered in the Waikato. This, along with the failure to meet timeframes on numerous other Waikato projects, does not constitute a priority.
The NZTA has conducted State Highway Traffic Volume surveys near the Avenue Road/SH26 intersection. The Annual Average Daily Traffic as last surveyed (2018) sits over 11,000 vehicles per day. Surely, in a bustling rural community, this should be enough to warrant prioritised safety improvements?
I do not consider that this has been prioritised by the NZTA or your office and I firmly believe that my constituents deserve better.
With respect Minister, this is taking too long. My constituents and I want action now.
Tim van de Molen MP