A BYPASS to get heavy traffic out of the centre city is on the table but any go-ahead appears to be years away.
An East Gate heavy traffic bypass was among the discussions between national and local government officials and heavy transport representatives in a series of meetings late last year.
Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency network manager Southland Jacob Manson said several workshops and meetings had been held in the past 16 months.
The idea of a heavy traffic bypass was in the very early discussion stages, he said.
The focus of the meetings was about setting strategic objectives for Invercargill’s entire road network within the city’s boundaries – a potential heavy traffic bypass was included among the topics.
“A heavy vehicle bypass was discussed for the eastern entrance, for north, south and CBD-bound vehicles, particularly with the new development going on in the CBD,” Mr Manson said.
“However, given the residential development in recent years on the possible alternative routes, there would need to be a robust business case and consultation process ahead of this idea progressing.”
Physical constraints such as the height of the Rockdale Rd rail underpass may hamper a bypass.
Also impacting on any suggested bypass were: high schools on Rockdale Rd and Tweed St and the additional travel operators would need to incur to connect to northern links.
A bypass would also need to be decided as part of the business case, whether it would be a bypass to the State Highway or shift State Highway 1 and the eastern entrance to a new location.
All the planning, investigation and construction would need to be funded by Waka Kotahi and Invercargill City Council (ICC) through the National Land Transport Programme to bring alternative routes up to standard.
The idea would also need political support from councillors to get it to the business case investigation stage, Mr Manson said.
ICC manager of strategic assets Russell Pearson said the council had identified there was potential to develop alternative bypass routes for the city.
But they were only conceptual.
“Planning work has been neither developed nor costed. An east-bound heavy traffic bypass would require considerable amount of thought and work with Waka Kotahi,” he said.
Road Transport Association New Zealand former president Mark Purdue, who was also present at the meetings, said he was reluctant to comment too much on the potential development at this stage as it was still a working group phase.
However, he had received notes from Waka Kotahi following the meeting regarding the topics discussed.