Heavy traffic ban for inner city mulled

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 15/03/2014

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Heavy trucks look set to be diverted from the Invercargill inner city to the suburbs.

The Invercargill City Council is working with the New Zealand Transport Agency to divert heavy traffic, including 50MAX trucks, from Dee and Tay streets.

50MAX trucks have one more axle than standard 44-tonne trucks and can carry more freight.

If the trucks are diverted away from the city centre they will be sent through the suburbs and on to roads such as St Andrew Street, Racecourse Rd and Queens Drive.

Invercargill City Council roading manager Russell Pearson said the council is planning to remove heavy vehicles from the inner city after several business owners raised concerns they were ruining the council's plans of making the city feel more pedestrian friendly.

At the inner-city working group meeting this week, businessman Neil Andrews expressed concern at the trucks travelling along sections of Dee and Tay streets, where the council planned to decrease the lanes from two each way, to one.

Mr Andrews owns the Pita Pit franchise in Tay St.

Speaking after the meeting, he said allowing heavy traffic through the city centre was going against what the council was trying to achieve with the upgrade.

"They kill the environment for the pedestrians. To revitalise the CBD, we have to remember that the city is there for the people."

Mr Pearson said the council was trying to work through the issue.

In conjunction with the transport agency, it was working out routes for trucks to travel on, but heavy vehicles, including the controversial 50MAX trucks, could legally travel wherever they wanted on the state highway network, of which those two streets were a part.

However, he hoped to find a way to have the vehicles banned from those sections and provide alternative routes for trucks to use throughout the city. "We are just working through where we want them to travel, which is quite different from where truckies want to go for the quickest routes."

NZ Transport Agency southern area manager Peter Robinson said that in other towns, such as Balclutha, there was a bylaw which banned trucks from sections of the state highway that passed through the shopping area.

That process could happen in Invercargill, but it would be preferential if the city council could come up with a better route for truckies and encourage them to use that instead, he said.

NZ Road Transport Association Southland representative Alan Cooper said the trucking industry would be "more than happy" to have discussions with the council about alternative routes.

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However, an appropriate heavy bypass would need to be found.

- The Southland Times

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