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Community interest strong in the future of SH1B Telephone Road rail crossing – NZTA

A community survey on the ongoing closure and potential options at the State Highway 1B Telephone Road rail crossing has shown strong interest and a range of views on the future of the crossing.

The crossing closed in April 2022 due to safety concerns over the derailment risk created by low vehicles striking the rail tracks. Since then NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA) and the Waikato District Council have been working with KiwiRail and the local community to assess thoroughly assess all the future options for the crossing.

For more information see nzta.govt.nz/projects/sh1b-telephone-road-rail-crossing/.

One option put forward was to close Holland Road westbound from the rail crossing as a way to lower the cost of the work required to make crossing safe, making the project more affordable. Of those that expressed a view in the survey 38 percent were in favour, 35 percent opposed and 27 percent were neutral.

The results were clearer when asked about the impact of the closure, with 72 per cent responding that the closure had been negative, 22 percent saying the closure was neutral and 6 percent saying it was positive.

The survey results are available to view at nzta.govt.nz/projects/sh1b-telephone-road-rail-crossing/.

The survey was conducted late last year by NZTA and Waikato District Council. It had a total of 254 responses from the community indicated the high level of interest the community had in the future of the rail crossing, says Roger Brady, NZTA’s Acting Regional Manager Maintenance and Operations.

“It’s clear that the crossing continues to have an impact for many members of the community,” Mr Brady says. “Safety remains the main concern of KiwiRail and NZTA at this crossing and we will continue to work with our partners and the community to determine the future of the crossing.”

No funding is available for the necessary work to allow the crossing to reopen within the current funding cycle (the 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme), however this project has been put forward for consideration in the 2024-27 NLTP process.

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