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Published: 2003-12-02 00:00:00

School and work starting times should be staggered to reduce congestion in Hamilton City, according to Police Inspector Leo Tooman.

He told this week’s Regional Land Transport Committee that having schools start at different times and co-operation from business to have staff starting at staggered times could considerably reduce traffic congestion in the city. Commenting on progress on bypasses for Avalon Drive and Te Rapa, he said the major traffic problem for the city was at peak times when people were delivering children to schools and people were getting to work.

Staggering start times could reduce travel time and fuel costs for motorists, he said.

“This is a community concern rather than a roading problem.”

Chairman David Peart said central city businesses could encourage staff to use the bus and reduce traffic using the central city. The Council was required to take travel demand into account in reviewing its transport strategies.

Cr Jenni Vernon asked if a punt could use the river to ferry people to the city, leaving cars across on the east side of the river, which is a project under consideration by Environment Waikato.

The Te Rapa bypass – the northern entry for the city - is to be investigated this financial year with design in 2006/7 and construction in 2008/9. The project will look to bypass the rapidly developing industrial and commercial areas north of Avalon Drive.

The work is a joint project with Hamilton City Council and an investigation contract is expected to be tendered by the end of the year, subject to agreement between Transit, Hamilton City Council and Transfund on the cost.

A notice of requirement has been lodged for the two kilometre Avalon Drive bypass between Rotokauri Rd and Norton Rd. A total of 19 submissions have been received both supporting and opposing, and a hearing was held in mid November.

The design phase is planned for this financial year and construction next year. Property purchase is underway. The Hamilton eastern bypass designation attracted 14 appeals which are being worked through, and subsequent design and construction phases are not in Transit’s 10 year plan.