Ivan Sorenson thinks he has a solution to Timaru’s heavy traffic problem.
The 86-year-old former Timaru port worker has suggested a toll bridge across Caroline Bay should be considered as an alternative route for trucks driving to and from the Port of Timaru.
Mr Sorenson spoke out after the release of a report by the Timaru District Council that suggests the town’s Bay Hill area has become separated from the CBD by the Port Loop Rd and an increase in heavy traffic travelling on it.
Discussions are under way for a proposed alternative route into Timaru’s port.
Mr Sorenson said his idea of building a bridge on cantilevers, running from a container terminal at Washdyke to Dashing Rocks then on to the North Mole to finish at Marine Parade, would offer a solution.
“I’ve been thinking about this for years,” he said.
“I worked on the waterfront for over 32 years and have seen the progress of the port.”
Mr Sorenson said he had visited the port and discussed his ideas with “a lot” of truck drivers.
“They think it is a good idea,” he said.
“The biggest problem for them is they get to Washdyke and it’s stop-start, stop-start all the way along to the port. My idea of starting the bridge at a container terminal at Washdyke would stop this.”
While he realised his idea would be costly, he said South Canterbury businesses could get involved and divide the costs.
“Really, I just want to see what others think of my idea and if they have any other ideas.”
Mr Sorenson said as Caroline Bay continued to recede, the water area around the bridge could be used by recreational boaters.
“It would be very popular, I think.
“As a boy coming to the Bay, I used to see it coming across the sand where the rose garden is now.”
Mr Sorenson said the port offered much to the region and it was important to look after it.
“In my mind, the port is one of the biggest assets we have.”
The Courier contacted the Timaru District Council about Mr Sorenson’s plans and was referred to the NZ Transport Agency, as it was a State Highway 1 issue.
NZ Transport Agency highway manager Colin Knaggs said the agency had no knowledge of any plans to change the existing arrangement of State Highway 78/Port Loop Rd.
“We are aware there is a backup route to the port via Heaton St. However, in general it is not suitable for heavy vehicles.”