Moves to improve trouble spot
Reducing the speed limit on State Highway 1 alongside Grovetown is an option to be considered in a package of measures put out by Marlborough Roads for consultation next month.
Grovetown residents, particularly people living on Ross and Knight's lanes, approached the Marlborough Express about the stretch of road, saying it was unsafe, particularly for people pulling off either to cross the railway tracks at Ross Ln or to go to the Grovetown Hotel.
Marlborough Roads general manager Frank Porter said there was no funding for major work on the state highway, but he would consult on "a package of measures" for the stretch of highway from Vickerman St to Aberhart's Rd that could improve safety.
That should be going out to residents within a month.
He wouldn't discuss the options in full, but confirmed that reducing the speed limit from 100kmh to 70kmh on the state highway was one option to be considered.
"I can't give any certainty that that's a reasonable solution, but it's certainly something we're looking at," Mr Porter said.
It was early stages, and, because it was a state highway, any changes would need to be approved by the Transport Minister and gazetted, which would take time.
An initial proposal to shut the level crossing at Ross Ln had been abandoned because it would cost $1 million to connect the road to either Vickerman St or Aberhart's Rd.
Mr Porter said there were issues with the intersections with the state highway, particularly the "very short" distance between the main road and the railway line.
"The whole stretch is very tight."
Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman said the NZ Transport Agency was looking at the whole stretch from Spring Creek to Aberhart's Rd.
He acknowledged there was a "real issue".
"My personal belief is that getting traffic slowed down would be a start."
He was aware of accidents and near-misses along the road and said the intersections were "not ideal".
Grovetown resident Dave Knight said residents wanted changes to the road, and reducing the speed limit to 70kmh would be a short-term answer.
In the long-term, a bypass was needed for both the state highway and the railway line, he said.
Grovetown Hotel owner Damian Johnson said slowing down the traffic would be "a huge breakthrough".
"We've had five accidents out here in the past two years. We're really lucky there have been no fatalities."
Once the Rangitane cultural centre opened on Fell Rd there could be up to 600 people attending functions. They would be crossing the railway line and merging on to the state highway, increasing the risks of accidents.