The NZ Transport Agency’s Notice of Requirement for a designation over the land needed for the bypass route for Woodend will be notified by the Waimakariri District Council this Saturday (25 January).
The Transport Agency announced about 12 months ago it planned to protect a bypass route to the east of the town, known as the Short Eastern Alignment, and is now encouraging the community to provide further comment on its plans through the Council’s designation process.
Canterbury/West Coast Highway Manager Colin Knaggs says the Transport Agency widely consulted the community on the alternative eastern bypass and widening the existing State Highway 1 route through Woodend.
“The majority of the community wanted us to reduce the impact the highway has on Woodend. Currently running through the town, State Highway 1 cuts Woodend in two, creating traffic congestion, safety issues and traffic delays.
“The only viable alternative to the bypass would have been to four-lane the state highway through Woodend. This would have resulted in greater severance of the community and a greater impact on the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.”
The new eastern bypass is expected to carry 80 per cent of the 14,000 vehicles that currently pass through the town each day.
The Transport Agency does not intend to build the route for 10 to 15 years, construction dependent on growth rates and traffic volumes.
Mr Knaggs says notification of the preferred solution protects the bypass route for the future and gives the community the certainty it has been looking for with ongoing development pressure in the area.
Editor’s Note: There was a designated Woodend bypass in the 1960s but this was uplifted in the 1990s because the Transport Agency’s predecessor Transit was unable to commit to the construction of it. Since that time, Transit and then the Transport Agency, have worked with the Waimakariri District Council to investigate options for bypassing Woodend to provide planning certainty for the Waimakariri district.