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Battle of the bulge in Tinwald

Battle of the bulge in Tinwald
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency contractors have begun work on road-narrowing bulges on Melcombe Street, designed to lower speed and deter “rat runners”. PHOTO JONATHAN LEASK/LDR

Safety measures being installed on Melcombe Street are “a disaster”, an Ashburton District councillor says.

Councillor Richard Wilson had received a lot of feedback about the new road-narrowing bulges being installed on Melcombe St in Tinwald, so he went and measured them.

“They are 2.5m on either side, so that’s a 5m width of road.

“The minimum width of road in New Zealand is supposed to be 3m, so we have a restriction on a council road that’s 5m wide.

“We’ve taken a road that is big, wide, and safe and turned it into a disaster”.

Roading manager Mark Chamberlain said the bulges are part of Waka Kotahi’s Tinwald corridor improvement project, and are designed to lower speed and deter rat runners – the drivers detouring down the side road to jump ahead of the SH1 traffic.

Infrastructure and open spaces group manager Neil McCann said it’s all about slowing traffic and making the road safer for cyclists, pedestrians and residents.

“It may be that wide vehicles cannot pass each other at these narrow points, but that is how traffic is calmed and driver behaviour changed.

“Hopefully it will even stop some of those campervans and other high vehicles using Melcombe St and then getting stuck under the viaduct.”

The viaduct, linking Melcombe St to SH1 under the railway line, will remain open to two-way traffic following public consultation on the Tinwlad Corridor project.

Councillor Lynette Lovett is already calling for a review of the viaduct access, suggesting it should be closed to traffic as it continues to cause further congestion issues.

By Jonathan Leask