Appeal for ramp to underpass

BEN STRANG
Last updated 09:55 26/07/2012
Ramp
In use: Paul Carlyon escorts his daughter Macy to Waitohu School yesterday morning, using the new underpass.

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An underpass has been added to Otaki's pedestrian network, but a parents' group is unhappy about the future of the new pathway.

The new underpass takes foot traffic underneath State Highway 1 north of Otaki, mainly for students at Waitohu School and Otaki College.

But with access relying on a steep stairway, Otaki Kids Safe Crossings Group member Shelley Warwick said the underpass was not sufficient.

"We are rapt with the underpass," she said.

"It is open, bright. Not only kids but the wider community has been using it.

"But it is not accessible to all, and NZTA were committed to us to put the ramp in."

The NZ Transport Agency constructed the underpass under pressure from Otaki parents, who wanted their children saved from having to cross SH1 to get to school.

NZTA Wellington state highways manager Rod James made it clear they would not initially build a ramp, allowing parents with strollers and disabled people to use the underpass, but would look into it in the future.

"We appreciate that the underpass is not a perfect solution for all users, but it has provided a significant safety improvement," Mr James said.

"At the time the underpass was planned we also agreed to explore possible designs for a ramp, to be provided at a later date. We have now done this, and it has been costed at approximately $300,000."

Mr James said the further improvements have been placed on a safety improvement list for the greater Wellington region, likely to be completed in the 2014-15 financial year.

He said NZTA had not promised to have a ramp added within a specific time frame.

"We're delighted to hear that the community are rapt with the underpass. It was planned, designed and constructed in a very short amount of time, for a cost of around $50,000, and it has helped to make crossing the road safer for children in the community every day."

Kapiti Coast District Council staff are working on safety improvements to County Rd, and are installing a kerb and sidewalk from the underpass onto SH1.

The road is closed while the work is being completed.

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