Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Marlborough Sounds out future access study

Marlborough District Council has announced the commencement of a study into long-term affordable access solutions for residents in storm-affected areas of the Sounds.

Council says the Marlborough Sounds Future Access Study will support a case for funding safe, resilient and affordable long-term access solutions for residents, homeowners and businesses in affected areas.

Mayor, Nadine Taylor said Council was focussed on creating as much certainty as possible for everyone who lives, works and visits the Marlborough Sounds.

“Severe weather events in 2021 and again in 2022 have closed roads in the Sounds, leaving people with limited or no access for prolonged periods, and in some cases no feasible, safe, long-term alternative access. Whilst road access to residents has been reinstated in many areas, it is fragile and subject to strict controls,” she said.

“Many of these roads were built as local access tracks and were never designed for today’s transport loads and damaging weather events. Unfortunately, more of the storms that have undermined these vulnerable roads over the last 18 months are possible in the future.

“We know people are worried about the future, especially the impacts of a changing climate causing more damage.”

The Mayor said input from the Sounds community would be an important part of the study and will help provide the solutions to future access in and out of the Sounds.

“Recognising we are coming up to the holidays, and that priority recovery work is ongoing, we will be talking with the Sounds community from late January, when we will ask what people see as the main access issues and concerns for them. Meanwhile, for those interested in the scope of the study, over the next month the community can provide feedback about the information we’re gathering.”

“We know that it won’t be difficult to make decisions for some areas, while others could potentially take years to fix. We may also need to consider lowered levels of service in some areas, but our ultimate goal is to provide the Sounds community with as much certainty as possible,” the Mayor said.

Consulting, engineering and construction company, Stantec, has been appointed to carry out the study. The Waka Kotahi business case process will guide the study.

The following four geographical areas are being looked at as part of the study:

French Pass – Ronga Road (Rai Valley), Croisilles-French Pass Road, Te Towaka-Port Ligar Road, Bulwer Road, including Rangitoto ki te Tonga / D’Urville Island;

Pelorus – Kaiuma Bay Road including Daltons Road / Track and Te Hoiere Road – linked to Te Hoiere/Pelorus catchment, linking back to Te Hoiere / Pelorus River;

Kenepuru – Queen Charlotte Drive (Havelock to Picton) including Kenepuru Road and the outer Sounds;

Port Underwood – Port Underwood and Tumbledown Bay roads (to Rarangi campground).

Face-to-face public events in each of the four study areas are being organised for late January to mid-February 2023.

At the end of the study, Stantec will prepare a business case to support the funding plan for a safe, resilient and affordable transport system for the Sounds, the Council said in a statement.

Alongside Council, Waka Kotahi will consider the funding for the preferred options. Council says the Department of Internal Affairs and National Emergency Management Agency are also taking a keen interest in this work.

For more information go to www.marlborough.govt.nz/services/roads-and-transport/marlborough-sounds-future-access-study.

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