Rocks Rd 'separate from link'

The NZ Transport Agency has told Rocks Rd residents the Southern Link and the coastal road's redevelopment are separate projects.

Residents expressed frustrations at a meeting yesterday evening with the Rocks Rd redevelopment concepts put out by the Nelson City Council and the transport agency (NZTA).

The jointly funded project between the council and the agency includes one option of upgrading on-road cycle lanes and the footpath, costing between $9 million and $13m, and a second option of a shared 4-metre-wide cycling and walking route on the seaward side of the road for between $11m and $15m.

The officials took note of residents' concerns about the loss of car parks, the impact on disability access, the loss of property value, noise, safety when pulling out of driveways, no buffer between the road and a proposed shared footpath, and the potential height of the historical chains along the seawall, among issues.

The solution for some residents was to leave the road as is and build the Southern Link.

NZTA representative Andrew James told the audience the Southern Link was "complicated" and the newly funded investigation announced by the Government in late June would take at least four to five years to get through to a design and planning stage.

"It's not going to happen overnight so the reason we are talking about this project is because that project is still quite some way away and the council of this region has got this regional fund that is required to be spent by 2018," he said.

"We have to come up with a preferred option for this project and then that goes back to the regional transport committee to decide whether they want to progress this or spend the money elsewhere."

He said the timing of the funds needing to be spent did not "align with the Southern Link project".

Nelson City Council staff along with James brought the discussion back to the concerns of residents, which they said they would try work through to find solutions.

Council senior asset engineer for transport and roading Rhys Palmer told residents the two options put out for Rocks Rd were about making the road safer for pedestrians and cyclists and reducing crashes and at this point detailed planning had not been done as feedback was needed on the concepts before one was selected.

The Waterfront Association's Tim Bayley said there were a number of issues with the concepts and measurements used in them "that have made it hard for anyone to actually make an assessment of what is in front of them".

He said some questions were not answered by the officers at the meeting.

Questions were also asked about what would happen to the sea steps near Days Track from where swimmers leap into the sea at high tide.

Palmer said the council would look in this.

The Nelson Mail