Thursday, 12 April 2018
Western Bay Mayor Garry Webber is grateful to the wider community for getting so strongly behind the push to reclaim State Highway 2’s position as a priority road for a major upgrade.
A public campaign - Fix the BLOODY Road - has been mounted in the past month calling for urgency from the Government to make the road safe for the huge increase in traffic volumes.
Public anger has been growing since it was revealed that upgrading State Highway 2 between Omokoroa and Tauranga has been ranked as low as number 11 on a list of Bay of Plenty Regional Council transport priorities in the draft Regional Transport Plan.
Outrage sparked a public petition that has gained 7000 signatures, ignited the Fix the BLOODY Road campaign and drawn 120 people to a public meeting in Te Puna to discuss community-led initiatives to bring about changes to the road. A Facebook group started on March 14 had grown to 1700 members.
Garry says the community response has been amazing and has certainly reinforced Council’s determination to get commitment from Central Government and the New Zealand Transport Agency to get the highway raised to number one on the Land Transport Plan’s priority list.
"The Northern Arterial should have been done 20 years ago when the land was purchased, the route designed and expectations were high.
"Sadly lobbying for the Tauranga Eastern Link superseded political commitment for the Northern Arterial, hence we have this untenable situation today of growth outrunning the infrastructure and people’s safety being compromised every day on that stretch of road.’’
Garry also made a submission to the Regional Land Transport Plan this week and will be meeting with Minister Twyford in Tauranga next week to further discussion.
Crash statistics from 2012-16 on Tauranga to Katikati highway
- 18 people died
- 35 serious crashes
- 95 minor crashes