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The New Zealand Transport Agency is investigating a $40 million project to install special lanes for Brougham St, which carries on average 45,000 vehicles a day.
The road is often clogged at peak hours bringing vehicles to a standstill, holding up buses, and trucks carrying freight to destinations like Lyttelton.
An NZTA spokesperson said it is looking into various ways to provide reliable delivery of freight and services, which includes “special lanes for high occupancy vehicles and freight.”
“We are now doing some concept testing before we come back to the public later this year to get their feedback on our ideas and designs,” the spokesperson said.
But the plan has raised safety concerns for Addington School. Its pupils cross the 60km/h street, to get to and from school.
Large vehicles like trucks use the road often and there have been a number of near misses close to the school.
School board of trustees chairwoman Jo Robertson, was concerned about a special lane for heavy vehicles. The board has not been told by NZTA about the plan, she said.
“Buses and trucks are the most problematic for safety and visibility. The safety concern is a lane that has trucks and stuff going on it, presumably, would be close to the footpath.
“That’s actually making it more unsafe for our children.”
“The truck was coming down off the motorway travelling east, and the cycle lights went green, so my son started biking across, but the truck hadn’t stopped. I called out to my son and he pulled back, but he was very, very shaky.”
NZTA’s plan was a big blow as the school has been asking for safety measures near the school for about two years, Robertson said.
She fears if the new lanes are installed, traffic flow will increase and this will decrease the impact of any safety improvements made.
Said the NZTA spokesperson: “Our team from Waka Kotahi met with Addington School in 2020 regarding their concerns about safety. As an interim measure, a number of improvements were agreed including new signs and improved line markings at the Collins/ Simeon Sts crossing. These improvements were completed before school went back this year.
“We will continue to work with the communities who are affected by any plan changes on Brougham St as we progress this project, including Addington School."