Expressway plans ‘detrimental’ to school

End of the road

Residents want more clarity on proposed plans to cut off Puketaha Road at the Gordonton Road end.

Terminating the road is one of the proposals put forward by the NZ Transport Agency as part of the Waikato Expressway project.

Puketaha School principal Bob Moffitt said representatives from the agency came to the school in October.

“They said that closing the road off, is one of the options. At this point nothing is set in concrete.  We have no clarity from the discussions, we’d really like to know.”

Closing the road could be detrimental to the small school, he said.

“A lot of our people use Puketaha as the logical route – 70 to 80% of our kids come down this road.   A road to Crosby Road roundabout seems to be an option.  It’s really up in the air, and the uncertainty probably makes it worse.

“I think it could really affect Puketaha if they actually cut the road off completely. An alternative route would change the dynamics of the place. People could still could come to Puketaha School, but they would have to go an extra 3 or 4 kilometres.”

Puketaha Road resident Andrew Taylor also wants answers.  He and his family have had ongoing conflicts over the roading project since 1997. While some of these have been resolved, he really wants to get on with his life.

At this stage, the builder says, there’s no clear plan for how he’s going to get access to his property.

“We’ve just built a house here.  I’m at a point where I’ve lost interest in finishing it.  Previously there was talk of an overbridge on Puketaha Rd crossing the expressway.  Now there’s this proposal to terminate the road, to cut it off.  This means there’s no easy way for me to get to the city.  It’s the latest in what has been years of stress for me and my family.

“I was born in the wrong time.  I’d be better off in the 17th century and I’d be sharpening up my broadsword, saddling up my best horse and riding into town.  That’s the reality of it.”

Further south, Tamahere residents and others say they are in limbo as the Southern Links roading project stifles plans to sell or build until the Agency is ready to buy land in at least eight years.

Visit Tamahere Forum for the full story.



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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

2 thoughts on “Expressway plans ‘detrimental’ to school

  • December 6, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Dealing with NZTA can be a complicated process, as they are a government agency and therefore subject to the rules laid down for their operation by the government. NZTA and its predecessor organisations have always been about roads, with vehicular traffic movement their top priority, and the rules deal only with motorised transport.

    Thus it is incredibly difficult to get safe access for pedestrians and cyclists on state highways which come under the control of NZTA, as many of us know to our frustration even within cities: trying to get a safe crossing from one side of Cobham Drive to the other to get pedestrian access to the Hamilton Gardens has taken years and has still not succeeded. This is because the regulations say that slowing traffic on a state highway has a hugely negative benefit-cost ratio. If you can’t produce a “good” benefit-cost ratio, a project will not be funded. Road crossing provisions, or reducing speeds to allow safe access, are therefore unlikely to be achieved. The human cost of operating to the rules is not allowed for, and for that reason we get people dying needlessly on unsafe roads, communities suffering as roads go through or round them, and people left stranded in the middle of large long-term plans which render their properties unsaleable and their futures uncertain.

    Until we have a government that sees some alternative to incessant road building, we are unlikely to make much progress in building better and more sustainable communities. Highways sever communities, as both these people have indicated. Our government can not see past the need for ever-increasing numbers of large roads, despite the examples of many other countries who are investing heavily in walking, cycling and public transport as ways to avoid the worst hits of fuel shortages and climate change, and as ways to reinvigorate cites and towns. We appear to be determined to build high-speed, high-capacity roads to link Auckland to Wellington as quickly as possible, with little thought to the survival of anything in between.

    All we can hope is that in eight years’ time there will be quite obviously no point in proceeding with the present grandiose roading schemes, and the threatened land purchases will not eventuate. That is unfortunately no comfort at all to the people currently in the line of fire, whose lives are on hold while the projects gestate.


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