Heavy trucks on main street play ‘terrifying game of roulette’

Heavy trucks in Mosgiel’s main street are unsafe and destroying "the economic and social heart" of the town.

Mosgiel Taieri Community Board chairman Andrew Simms on Tuesday urged Dunedin city councillors to renew work on a heavy traffic bypass for State Highway 87, or Gordon Rd, as it cuts through town.

The community board’s submission to the Dunedin City Council’s annual plan said sand was trucked through town up to nine times a day, there were increasing volumes of stock trucks from the Maniototo, fully laden logging trucks, fertiliser trucks and massive freight trucks all driving through town "in a terrifying game of roulette" with the people who lived there.

Mr Simms said removing heavy traffic from Gordon Rd was supposed to be the council’s "number two" priority in 2003, but 20 years later there had been no progress.

He held up a copy of the council’s Dunedin City Integrated Transport Strategy, from 2013.

"It’s a brilliant document.

"One of the priorities in that document is the separation of heavy transport and the population in Mosgiel — 2013 — we’re 10 years on.

"All the other priorities — the eastern freight bypass, done; central city upgrade, under way; Portobello-Harington upgrade, under way; shared path State Highway 88 to Port Chalmers, almost done. Mosgiel? Nothing.

"It’s 10 years.

"I’m struggling to explain to our people why that is.

"And I’m just wondering, is it just Mosgiel?

Mosgiel people are asking for fewer trucks to travel through the town. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Mosgiel people are asking for fewer trucks to travel through the town. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
"Are we waiting for another child on their way home from school to be killed, perhaps an elderly person, is that going to be the trigger?

"Heavy traffic on Gordon Rd is unsafe and it destroys the economic and social heart of our town and the time for action is now."

The only option he believed worthy of consideration as an alternative route was Riccarton Rd.

The road would need to be widened but "other than ‘cost’ there is no reason why Riccarton Rd wouldn’t work".

"There’s 41 houses on Riccarton Rd, a lot of those are well set back off the road; there are nearly 400 residents of Gordon Rd, four motels, three pedestrian crossings, 41 retail businesses.

"I spoke to a hairdresser who said she has to stop cutting hair when the trucks go past ... the impact that it has on our whole township is immeasurable."

Elderly residents were too scared to park in Gordon Rd because they were worried they were "going to get their door wiped off".

"That’s not the heart of a rural town."

The community board would host a public meeting in the coming year so the board could give the council a "very clear picture" of what the community wanted.

He knew there was some opposition.

"I can’t believe, I don’t want to believe, that a handful of people can scuttle the good of the whole community."