Community leader hails Woodend Bypass progress
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Community leader hails Woodend Bypass progress

A Canterbury community leader is pleased the Woodend Bypass is finally going ahead, but hopes promised safety improvements will not be forgotten.

Woodend-Sefton Community Board chairperson Shona Powell says residents had been waiting for safety improvements since Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency began consulting with the community eight years ago.

Transport Minister Simeon Brown and Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey visited Woodend on Friday (July 5) to announce planning will begin on the Belfast to Pegasus Motorway, which includes the bypass.

”I’m pleased we are making progress and we can sort of think, ‘yeah, it’s going to happen,” Ms Powell said.

”It’s been really difficult for a lot of people for a long time and now we just want to see things moving.

“We want to see Woodend being a community without State Highway 1 barrelling through it.”

Proposed safety improvements included road widening, wider centrelines and safety barriers, roundabouts at the Woodend Beach Road and Williams Street intersections and a crossing refuge for people using bus stops near Pine Acres.

Ms Powell has also been advocating for a pedestrian and cycle underpass between Pegasus and Ravenswood, along with the cycle ways proposed to link Woodend with Kaiapoi and Pegasus.

She said there were also safety concerns north of Pegasus.

Residents had successfully lobbied for an 80kph speed limit between Pegasus and Waikuku, and a 60kph limit through Waikuku.

Waimakariri Mayor Dan Gordon has also been lobbying to replace the Ashley River SH1 bridge with a wider bridge and a clip-on cycle way.

Friday’s announcement allows Waka Kotahi to get on with planning the Woodend Bypass route, design work and costing the project.

”It will help boost productivity and facilitate the faster movement of freight across New Zealand,” Mr Brown said.

”Locally, the Woodend Bypass is important for Christchurch, Canterbury and the South Island.”

The agency has been asked to consider all funding options, including a road toll and public/private partnerships.

”If tolling is what is recommended, we will do it,” Mr Brown said.

Waka Kotahi regional relations director James Caygill said the announcement allows the agency to talk to landowners and to re-look at the route to see what has changed in the last 10 years.

”Ravenswood wasn’t here 10 years ago and there has been a lot of growth.”

A route to the east of Woodend, from Pine Acres, north of Kaiapoi, to the Pegasus Roundabout was designated for the Woodend Bypass by Waka Kotahi in 2014.

Mr Caygill said the Pegasus Roundabout would need to be replaced and the agency was aware of two shingle pit lakes near Pine Acres.

An underpass and cycle ways linking Woodend with Pegasus and Kaiapoi were also ”on the table”, he said.

Mr Gordon said the Woodend Bypass was one of the largest roading projects the district has seen.

”We welcome that direction and we want to see it completed. The community has been waiting for a long time.”

He said the council looked forward to seeing the detailed design and was ready to partner with Waka Kotahi to see the bypass delivered.

By David Hill, Local Democracy Reporter

■ LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.