Two options for Rocks Rd revamp
Two of three proposals for a revamp of Nelson's Rocks Rd are likely to go for public consultation.
The Nelson City Council works and infrastructure committee yesterday discussed three concepts for the waterfront route - an on-road cycle lane with a widened footpath for $9 million to $13m; a shared path arrangement at $11m-$14m, or separated footpath and cycle lanes on the seaward side for $33m-$47m.
The committee decided to recommend to the council that the two cheaper options go for feedback. The New Zealand Transport Agency is expected to bear nearly 75 per cent of the costs with ratepayers meeting the rest.
Committee chairman Eric Davy said option one and two were realistic and the council and transport agency wanted a "full, robust community debate". Despite option three being ruled out because of its hefty price tag, the committee recommended putting it out for information only so people would have the full picture.
"Rocks Rd will be the state highway for the foreseeable future and will always be a busy road as it connects communities, the arterial traffic study confirmed this. Council needs to consider how all modes can share the road. We think, along with the transport agency, that these concepts both work to address these issues."
At the start of yesterday's meeting Davy reminded the committee of the need for the council to be financially prudent as it was having to commit money to several other core infrastructure projects.
The council's senior asset manager for roading and transport, Rhys Palmer, told the committee the transport agency's funds for regional development could cover all transport-related costs but rates would have to cover other aspects such as green spaces.
Transport agency regional funds needed to be spent by July 2018, but spending it on this project could mean other projects missed out.
If the council wanted to get the revamp under way, it needed to gather public views quickly as resource consents could take up to a year.
Nelson MP Nick Smith earlier this week urged the council to tie the revamp to the proposed southern link route.
However, if this was done, Rocks Rd could cease to be a highway and the redevelopment bill may have to be covered more extensively by ratepayers.
When asked by councillor Matt Lawrey about Smith's concerns about traffic volumes and the loss of parking on the road, Palmer said parking was never full and traffic volumes were falling.
He said Rocks Rd was the missing cycle link in the city and an important piece of infrastructure for the increasing number of cyclists.
The transport agency's regional planning and investment manager, Lyndon Hammond, said the agency was looking forward to working with the council and the community "to make the best use of this vital corridor".
All but one committee member supported putting the concepts out to the public. Cr Ian Barker opposed the project, saying the state highway was an economic lifeline for the city and would expose pedestrians and cyclists to traffic pollution.
He agreed with Smith's call for another route. The council will decide on July 17 whether to proceed with the public consultation.
Option 1: On road cycle lanes and widened footpath – $9 million-$13 m; Likely NCC rates $2.2m-$3.1m likely NZTA $6.8m-$9.8m.
Option 2: Shared pathway – $11m-$14m; NCC rates $2.6m-$3.4m NZTA $8.4m-$10.6m.
Option 3: Separated footpath and cycle lanes on seaward side – $33m-$47m; NCC rates $22.4m-$36.4m; NZTA up to $10.6m
The Nelson Mail