More than 150 people turned up last week to the meeting in Puketaha Hall to discuss the future of Telephone Road/Holland Road intersection.
Staff from Waka Kotahi, KiwiRail and Waikato District Council were present to talk over options for the State Highway 1B Telephone Road rail crossing – which has been closed since April due to track damage.
Waka Kotahi preferred option is to permanently close the crossing on Telephone Road and access to Holland Rd from Telephone Rd.
But locals are outraged, reports the Waikato Times.
“It’s ridiculous,” Natasha Field told Stuff reporter.
…Her family owned blueberry farms on State Highway 1B or Marshmeadow Rd, and during picking season around 40 of their staff travelled to and from the site, forced to take the detour route.
Holland, Waverley, and Seddon roads were now damaged, full of pot-holes and not coping with increased use.
“It’s awful to drive, dangerous.”
…The closure of the road was cutting the community in half, and affected hundreds and hundreds of people, she said.
Waka Kotahi director of regional relationships David Speirs told the Times it knew people were frustrated but –
… “a huge chunk of railway came out and the risk of derailment was high”.
“The ideal is to find a cost-effective, safe way to keep it open. But the reality is we haven’t been able to find that solution.”
In a press release prior to the meeting, the Agency said before a final decision was made it wanted to hear from the community whether there other factors that needed to be considered.
Waikato District Council Mayor Allan Sanson wants the road fixed.
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