Taupiri residents beg truck truck drivers to stop engine braking through village

The State Highway 1B stretch of road through Taupiri is a problem area for truck drivers engine braking according to ...
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The State Highway 1B stretch of road through Taupiri is a problem area for truck drivers engine braking according to residents.

Residents of a small north Waikato community are begging truck drivers to stop engine braking through their sleepy village.

Richard Brown and Nick Turtle are just two Taupiri residents who are woken  in the early hours of the morning from the thunderous sound.

"You don't get one uninterrupted sleep," Brown said. 

Taupiri residents Richard Brown, left, and Nick Turtle want truck drivers to stop engine breaking when passing through ...
CAITLIN WALLACE/STUFF

Taupiri residents Richard Brown, left, and Nick Turtle want truck drivers to stop engine breaking when passing through the town.

Continuing throughout the day, it's hard to get any peace, both said.

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The issue dates back to 2014 when the Waikato Expressway opened, bypassing Ngaruawahia and directing traffic through Taupiri. 

Speaking on behalf of a frustrated group, Turtle and Brown estimate at least 25 drivers a day were causing the noise.

However, the truck drivers were not breaking any laws - there is currently no bylaw to stop engine braking in the area.

The problem area is either side of the bridge between two roundabouts.

All locals want is for the truck drivers to show  some courtesy, particularly to those who live next to the busy highway.

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"It's not about the skills or driving, it's about consideration through a residential area," Brown said. 

They said  numerous complaints had been sent over the years to the trucking companies and the New Zealand Transport Agency but the situation remained  unchanged.

But now the Taupiri Community Board is getting involved, and has delivered  forms for locals to log each incident which will be sent to NZTA. 

Brown said they bought their home two years ago, and knew it wouldn't be quiet with the constant hum of traffic.

But this was on another level, he said. 

"Having them (trucks) go past and making your house literally shake is unacceptable."

NZTA said Taupiri had been put on the rotation roster for one of its noise-detection cameras. The camera is expected to be put in place early next year.

But locals say they are unsure if it will work.

There needed to be other steps taken, including more visible signs, they said. 

The 70kmh speed limit should also be pushed back to the end of the expressway taking it further away from the southbound roundabout, Turtle said. 

He said some truck drivers did not slow down upon entering that zone which was part of the problem. 

"If they were held at 70, they would go through and coast up and coast down... they're not doing 70 right through that roundabout."

If nothing changes, the light at the end of the tunnel is the opening of the Huntly bypass in 2020 which would re-direct most traffic.

NZTA central North Island compliance manager Iain Rossiter said multiple reports had been filed over the years with three recorded complaints in the past 12 months. 

"We are continuing to work with residents in Taupiri who have reported noise issues in their area. We have raised awareness with the local trucking companies and have spoken to some operators when there were multiple reports of a problem occurring," he said.

"The local industry have reacted positively to our requests and we'd like to thank them for their co-operation."

However to investigate further, the camera is set to be installed next year. 

"The key is identifying the responsible company, truck or driver. This process has been boosted by the development and successful use of noise cameras which provide a sound recording and a number plate." 

 

 - Stuff

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