Traffic gridlock set to stay

The number of vehicles using Blenheim’s busy Grove Rd is on the rise by hundreds every year.

Gridlocked traffic is fast becoming a common site on the busy main thoroughfare.

And some believe traffic lights are the only solution for a long-term fix.

Latest figures from the New Zealand Transport Association show about ten thousand cars drive down Grove Rd every day, increasing by 400 every year.

Seaview Wholesale salesman Toby MacDonald sees problems on the road almost daily.

“The traffic on Grove Rd is just phenomenal.

“I’ve heard a lot of screeching tyres and swearing,” he says.

“Traffic can get backed up right back around the corner [on Budge St].”

He says traffic lights at the busy intersection, where his business is, are needed to “sort the flow”.

Figures from the New Zealand Transport Agency show there have been nine reported fender benders and one minor crash on the merging lane in the past five years.

NZTA Top of the South system manager Andrew James says a review of the existing SH1 corridor through Blenheim was not a high enough priority compared to other parts of the country.

The Marlborough Regional Transport Committee recommended a review of the thoroughfare in the Regional Land Transport Plan.

A problem crossing island next to Z petrol station intended to offer refuge to pedestrians is instead being repeatedly clipped and damaged by large vehicles.

An NZTA spokeswoman says the red handrails have been knocked over or damaged “seven or eight times” in the past five years.

“Road crews say that they have been clipped by trucks going straight through, not vehicles turning out of the service station.

“We are currently in the process of replacing these red safety rails with yellow ones in the next month or so.

The spokeswoman says yellow objects are less prone to being hit by large vehicles, based on how they work at other sites.

The $21 million Ōpaua River bridge upgrade, scheduled for completion mid-2020, was expected to reduce delays and increase the throughput of traffic through the town.

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