‘Patch-up’ solutions for Mosgiel traffic criticised

Mosgiel needs a long-term fix to its growing traffic worries, Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board...
Mosgiel needs a long-term fix to its growing traffic worries, Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board chairman Andrew Simms says. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Transport planners will need to do better than present a "patch-up" for Mosgiel traffic issues and anxiety about trucks, a community leader says.

Initial signals from NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi about possible tweaks were underwhelming, Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board chairman Andrew Simms said.

A piecemeal plan would not do, he said.

His comments came after it emerged the project might have a budget of just $15 million and that the agency was "not currently planning to develop a bypass".

"Instead, we will be looking at a number of lower-cost interventions to keep traffic moving, which might include new signals at Riccarton Rd, more right-turn lanes and stopping some turning movements," an agency spokeswoman said.

Mr Simms said this was unlikely to be good enough in the years ahead.

"It sounds like another patch-up to a significant problem that is only getting worse."

Mosgiel’s main shopping street, Gordon Rd, has hundreds of truck movements a day and there have long been worries about safety implications for pedestrians, such as children, and irritation about effects on amenity.

Mr Simms said much of Dunedin’s growth and development potential remained focused in the Taieri area.

He expected the possible creation of a freight logistics hub at Mosgiel could be a game-changer, reinforcing the need for a heavy-traffic bypass.

The community board’s work would not be done until a viable bypass existed, he said.

Improvements to Mosgiel roading were recently included in a Waka Kotahi 2024-34 state highway investment proposal, within a $10m to $100m bracket.

They were described there as interventions to optimise State Highway 1 and SH87 in and around Mosgiel, "given the significant growth in housing development that is planned in the future".

Asked for more information, the agency confirmed congestion at the SH1 entrance to Mosgiel was considered a growing problem.

"The need to look closer at entrances and exits into and out of Mosgiel comes after recent evidence including an integrated transport assessment for a new development in Mosgiel, plus future modelling showing increasing congestion and more delays at some intersections at peak times."

It is intended a business case will be developed in the 2024-27 planning cycle.

"At this stage the proposed budget for this project is likely to be up to $15m and is focused on getting the best out of the existing roading assets."

Otago Regional Council chairwoman Gretchen Robertson highlighted public submissions on the joint Otago and Southland regional land transport plan would close tomorrow.

Growth was forecast in many areas around Otago.

"It’s vital these road links are not only designed as suitable for purpose now, but must also be future-proof to help underpin growth in the longer term," Cr Robertson said.

"We would be looking for more clarity on what is going to be included in ‘the Queenstown package', as roading has become a pinch-point for residents, visitors and businesses around the district."

Regional councillor Kate Wilson, who is a regional transport plan panel member, said the needs of the South Island should be clearly articulated.

"While it is clear the traditional funding model is stretched, it is important that we all look at getting projects ready for investment so that we are ready for infrastructure funding opportunities outside of the national funding model."

Environment Southland chairman Nicol Horrell said the council was concerned about lack of funding commitment being targeted at the lower South Island among plans for roads of national significance.

The council also wanted to see more clarity and detail on potential funding for small bridge replacements in Southland.