Green light for Transport Choices Ōamaru upgrades

Published on 21 September 2023

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Walking, cycling and scooting around Ōamaru will soon be safer and easier for everyone, as the Waitaki District Council moves ahead with its Transport Choices project.

Transport Choices is funded by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency as part of the Government’s Climate Emergency Response Fund, and its aim is to create safe, inclusive and affordable ways for people to get around our towns and cities.

The upgrades in Ōamaru North were chosen to improve a walking route for people in the neighbourhood, including older people in aged care facilities, people with disabilities, and tamariki (children) and rangatahi (young people) at the five schools within the planned area of works.

Thirteen new side-road entrances on the west side of Thames Highway/SH1 between Orwell Street and Stirling Street will improve the access and safety of people walking, cycling and using mobility scooters along the route. Two additional crossing refuges will also be placed between Waitaki Avenue and Stirling Street.

New signalised intersections at the Arundel Street/Regina Lane, and Redcastle Road junctions with Thames Highway will also resolve existing traffic issues, provide safe crossing for people walking at both locations, and ensure a steady and regulated traffic flow on Thames Highway/SH1 and the surrounding streets. The existing pedestrian crossing at Harlech Street will be upgraded to a signalised lights crossing.

Local schools, aged care facilities, businesses and residents will be advised of the timeline for completion of the road and crossing upgrades, with completion date for the project anticipated by March 30, 2024.

Kathryn King, Urban Mobility Manager for Waka Kotahi, says it’s time for New Zealand streets to change. “It’s clear our communities want safer, friendly streets that are open to everyone.

“We can reduce our emissions and improve physical, mental and community wellbeing by creating neighbourhoods that are easier to move around in ways that are good for our health, and better for the environment,” she says.

“We all want children to have the freedom to confidently walk or bike to school, and people to have the option of biking to the shops or to work.

“We are proud to work in partnership with Waikati District Council to help create healthier, safer and more connected communities in Ōamaru.”

Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher says, “For too long, the North End of Oamaru has had traffic issues, particularly at school start and finish times. This work will make our streets safer , allowing more children to walk, scoot and bike to school. Importantly, the Government has fully funded this project, meaning no cost to the ratepayer.”