A heavy vehicle bypass is one resident’s solution to the in Mataura’s Main St.
The street, which is part of State Highway 1, is under NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) jurisdiction.
Mataura woman Isobel Livingstone lives at the south end of Main St about 400m from the change of speed sign at the entrance of the town.
Mrs Livingstone said she moved to the house at the end of November and as she was at home all day was very aware of the sound of traffic.
Mrs Livingstone said.
Even with double-glazed windows and heavy curtains the noise was ”invasive”.
”Sometimes the noise goes on all day and night.
”You just can’t get away from it.”
The number of trucks that went through the town was ”astronomical”.
Empty trucks made the most noise.
”They just go bang, bang.
”It’s like an earthquake.”
She was sure that if the same amount of noise was produced in a work environment WorkSafe New Zealand would declare it unsafe.
When repairs were being completed on the road earlier this year she had noticed the difference.
”The traffic was down to 30kmh and there was much less noise.”
Mrs Livingstone’s neighbour Warren Beattie said he had written to Clutha Southland MP Hamish Walker, asking a heavy vehicle bypass be considered to take traffic away from this section of Main St.
“It would keep the trucks away from the residential area,” Mr Beattie said.
He believed the problem at present was the road surface.
”Because of the uneven road surface the unladen bulk-carrying, bathtub-style trucks are making a considerable amount of unwanted nuisance noise.
”They just bounce and bang.”
”If it was nice and smooth you wouldn’t hear them so much.”
Before he retired in September last year he was not as aware of how noisy the trucks were.
”I’m here every day so I notice it more.
He had counted more than 10 different transport firms’ trucks using the road.
”Thirteen can go through here in an hour some days.”
He believed the road surface needed to be of a high standard or else a heavy traffic bypass was needed.
If there was a bypass it would not matter so much if the road surface was not of a high standard, as lighter vehicles would be travelling on it.
SouthRoads had already repaired the surface.
”They made what I thought was a good job but it just sunk again.”
Meanwhile the road surface continued to deteriorate.
During the lockdown the noise of the traffic was especially wearying he said.
”We had to stay here. We couldnt’ get away.”
Traffic noise was known to affect people’s mental health and learning deficiencies in young children, he said.
An NZTA spokesman said the SouthRoads team had received complaints about the road surface and noise from empty truck and trailer units on Mataura’s Main St.
The piece of road was dug out and the holes were filled in and the surface was levelled in the second week of March.
“However the material has sunk again and not solved the problem.
“This indicates it needs a fuller stabilisation process and this was programmed,” the spokesman said.
Waka Kotahi’s NZTA Southland network manager Jacob Manson said some of the pre-lockdown Alert Level 4 planned pavement repairs through Mataura will be put on hold until spring, as the work is temperature dependent.
Waka Kotahi NZTA system manager Graeme Hall said Waka Kotahi had no plans for a bypass.
He said a Mataura bypass would be unlikely to meet any eligibility criteria compared to many other places with busier retail centres on state highways.