Tasman Leader : October 10th 2013
History intact Page 4 THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2013 Road noise still worrying D By SARAH DUNN awson Rd residents Tim Robinson and Pat Duffy have reached the end of the road with the New Zealand Transport Authority in their campaign against road noise at Ruby Bay. Tim, Pat and their neighbour Bob Wilson represent a group of about 50 Ruby Bay residents who have been locked in dispute with the NZTA since January. They are concerned about road noise emanating from the Ruby Bay bypass onto Dawson Rd. The bypass was designated as a state highway in 2000 and opened in 2010. It is part of State Highway 60, and carries nearly 5000 vehicles each day past Mapua and Ruby Bay. It measures about 11km and has two lanes. After the group said last Febru- ary’s resealing of the road with a larger chip had brought an increase in noise, the NZTA carried out a noise report over July through independent specialists URS. The report found the properties of those residents not named in the original consent conditions showed noise levels of between 46 and 61 decibels, and there was a minor difference in road noise measured on the new surface of between 0.9 to 1.7 decibels. A letter from regional perform- ance manager Mark Owen described the noise as being at ‘‘a reasonable level for residential living’’. The trio met NZTA representa- tives Rob Hannaby and Andrew Adams in Mapua at the end of last month for a follow-up, but the result was not positive. Tim said the representatives had ‘‘blankly refused’’ to consider the community’s perspective, and Pat felt they had decided on the meeting’s outcome before it began. ‘‘They came in with a real bloody-minded attitude that they were right and they had no obligation to do anything.’’ He said the data on decibels and tone did not account for the human cost of those affected by the noise, ‘‘the people who get Ruby Bay residents Pat Duffy, left, and Tim Robinson are unsatisfied with the response they have received from theNewZealand Transport Agency to their concerns about road noise. woken up at 5am when the logging trucks come through’’. Pat and Tim acknowledged the consent laws did not require the NZTA to take into account the highway’s effect on houses built since its construction, but said the development that their houses were later built on was in evidence before the bypass. ‘‘They’re standing behind the letter of the law in the Resource Management Act rather than its intent.’’ Pat said the act’s intent was to ensure the NZTA acted as ‘‘good neighbours’’ to those in the area. Tim said the group would like to see the bypass resealed to mitigate the noise, but were open to other solutions. ‘‘As far as we’re concerned, they’re the engineers, they’re the experts. ‘‘They should know how ( to make the road quieter).’’ He said the group was reluctant to take the NZTA to court because none of the affected residents could afford such a battle, but they would not drop the issue. ‘‘We’re not planning on letting go of it, that’s for sure.’’ Mark rejected the assertion that the NZTA had not intended to listen to the residents’ concerns. ‘‘When residents raised con- cerns about increased noise levels, we listened. At their request, we’ve undertaken expert independent monitoring at a cost of approximately $15,000. We’ve shared the report and the raw data with the residents, given them all the information they’ve asked for and our environment and urban design manager met with several of the residents last week to answer their technical questions. We are confident that we have implemented the best practical option in terms of noise mitigation at the bypass.’’ Mark said that based on the report, there was no evidence that any further action was needed. He said the NZTA understood the residents did not share this view, but the organisation had done everything it could to resolve the issue and would engage officially with whatever next step they wished to take.
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