The temporary slip road off SH6, which was put in place while the Champion Road roundabout upgrade was underway, has left locals wondering why it now has to go.
“The slip road worked well for those getting to Raewards and so on,” says Bryce Buckland, who frequently used the slip road. “It reduced congestion on the roundabouts, easing traffic flow. I know I’m not alone when I say I think it’s a good idea to keep it in place.”
However, Tasman District Council say it was just a short-term fix to allow businesses to continue trading.
“There is no simple solution,” says Chris Choat from TDC. “Like Whakatu Drive, Waka Kotahi NZTA manage the Richmond Deviation as a ‘limited access road’ as its main purpose is conveying highway traffic, rather than providing access to adjacent businesses.
“This access was always temporary, and even if Waka Kotahi were prepared to consider a permanent change, it would require significant investment to make it safe at highway speed, rather than the 50km/h limit which was in place during the project.” It would also have to be capable of withstanding long-term traffic, and require improvements to cope with the increase in use.
“The current entry point is not deemed safe enough long-term as it exits a main highway too close to the roundabout,” says Chris. “It is allowed as a temporary measure because it is heavily speed controlled.”