In recent times, Abley has provided traffic advice on several developments where a new vehicle access or changes to an existing vehicle access was required.
There is no statutory timeframe to obtain written approval from a road controlling authority and consequently, we have learned that it can come down to a delicate negotiation.
Road Controlling Authorities (RCAs) such as NZ Transport Agency are concerned about anything that could affect the operations and safety of their network. With safety being one of the key strategic priorities of the recently published ‘Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS) 2018/19 – 2027/28’, there is increased onus on RCAs to be cautious and avoid any compromises in road safety.
As transportation advisors, we understand this. Our goal is to strive towards a win-win for the client, the RCA and any other affected parties.
Drawing on our previous experience, here are some practical tips we have put together for getting optimum results when working with RCAs on these matters:
Start the conversation early.
RCAs can be large organisations and each local office/individual have their own way of working through projects. Often approvals are processed at regional offices due to resource availability, so allow plenty of time.
Outline your intentions, expectations and time frames.
This will give you a chance to understand the expectations, achievability and boundaries. Understanding what the RCA controls versus what they are happy to negotiate is crucial. There’s no point in spending resources designing a roundabout, when the only option they will consider is a one-way exit!
Preference to not to set a precedence.
RCAs will usually seek reassurance that you have explored all possibilities. Explain why access is necessary and how you propose to achieve a safe and functional design. Demonstrating how the access works via traffic modelling, traffic surveys and traffic behaviour will be critical, so go the extra mile. Focus on the complete transport network and all road users that could be affected.
And most importantly, always have a backup plan!
Blog written by Jay Baththana, Senior Transportation Engineer