The busiest roundabout in the Tasman District is set to get a much-needed upgrade.
Agreed by council late last year, the roundabout on the corner of Champion and Salisbury Roads will be upgraded to have double lanes at the three busiest entry points, and new shared cycle and pedestrian crossings built. With nearly 17,000 vehicles passing through a day, this roundabout is the busiest in the district.
The development of a Countdown supermarket on the corner means that the intersection will become even busier. Tasman District Council’s transportation manager Jamie McPherson says that the initial plans to build an underpass below Champion Road have been scrapped, in favour of a cheaper option.
“The council had included a project to build an underpass under Champion Road as well as the roundabout upgrade, but as the investigation progressed, it turned out to be more expensive and challenging – rather than an underpass we decided to add raised crossings at each approach. “
The proposed underpass would have set the council back $2.9m. Nelson City Council’s contribution to the project, as it borders on their jurisdiction, was fixed and would not be increased and NZTA would not subsidise the work. Instead, the two at-grade crossings on Champion Road and Salisbury Road will cost $100,000 before any subsidy from NZTA.
The twin-laning of the roundabout is expected to cost council $900,000. Both Nelson City Council and Woolworths, who own Coutdown, have made commitments to co-fund the works.
Jamie says that splitting the single approach lanes on Salisbury and Champion Roads will help with traffic at peak times.
“On Salisbury Road approach and Champion Road approach lane, the single approach lanes that we’ve got now will split into two approach lanes. On Salisbury Road we’ll be able to split Straight ahead traffic from those who are turning, so you get more throughput at peak times,” he says.
The tender process for the project began last week and will go through until the end of September. Council hopes to have construction underway before Christmas, with a completion date for the roundabout set around mid-2021.
Jamie says that making sure there are safe options for walking and cycling is a priority in the upgrade.
“We’ve got thousands of school children in this area, we’ve got our premium sports complex down the road, and an increasing commercial area here. With the supermarket going in, this is a really important area to try and improve what is available for pedestrians and cyclists,” he says.
“If you don’t have to drive, we want you to be able to make a safe decision not to drive.”