Lighting up SH2 for Christmas

Margaret Murray-Benge at the new signalized crossing on SH2 –set to be activated in coming weeks. Photo: John Borren.

Tauranga City Council is “committed” to having the Wairoa Cycleway ready before Christmas –meaning the traffic lights cutting across State highway 2 at Carmichael Rd will be turned on ahead of December 25.

Works on the Wairoa Cycleway started back in May and now the final pieces of the puzzle are being assembled complete it.

Tauranga City Council’s team leader of cycle implementation Karen Hay says during the next two weeks the project team will work on the new signalised pedestrian crossing/traffic lights on SH2 at Carmichael Rd.

‘Triggered by cyclists’

“The new signalised pedestrian crossing will be triggered by cyclists wanting to cross the road, enabling users to safely cross SH2 to Carmichael Rd.

"From there, they can continue on the network of cycle paths at Gordon Carmichael Reserve and into the city,” says Karen.

Weather dependent, Karen says: “We are committed to having the cycleway operational prior to Christmas”.

Yet Western Bay of Plenty councillor Margaret Murray-Benge doesn’t think this is the Christmas gift the region needs.

Margaret says she thinks it will be a “great tragedy” if council turns the signalised crossing on before Christmas.

“It’s all very well for people to go cycling, and a lot of people love it.

"But somehow, you’ve got to take into account the fact that people will be in their cars and going to see family and different places, and enjoying their holidays.

"To make that congested road more congested – I think it’s criminal.

"You don’t put obstacles in the way to slow the traffic down because people have got to get home.”

Congestion and hold-ups 

Margaret says cyclists don’t need a signalised crossing to cross SH2.

“Cyclists are well able to wait for a break in the traffic and then cross.

It [the state highway] is too congested for too many times of the day to have lights working there for a certain section of the community when they hold up everybody else.”

So what works remain until the SH2 traffic lights will be switched on?

“Implementing and testing the software for the traffic lights, together with some further concreting, line marking and signage.

"The separators for the cycle path are also to be installed,” says Karen.

“All going to plan we’re looking to finish early to mid-December and will have more details available closer to the time.

"If we have wet weather, it could take a bit longer so we’re hoping for great weather.”

Margaret says that putting the lights on SH2 at Carmichael Rd at the moment is “absolutely dumb”.

“I think that that cycleway will be wonderful when it [SH2] becomes a district road – but at the moment, it’s a state highway and should be a priority for motorists on that highway.”

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