Logging truck gridlock paralyses businesses

The left lane blocked on Mark Rd between Hull Rd and York Ave by logging trucks waiting to get to ISO in York Ave. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

Anger is boiling over this week as Mount Maunganui businesses impacted by long lines of logging trucks blocking their driveways are threatening action, following what they say is two years of the situation not being resolved.

“Next time I get blocked from entering or leaving, or need to cross the street on a blind corner to get to my office, I will be parking in front of the ISO entrance,” says one business owner.

Frustrated business owners in Triton Ave, Mark Road and York Ave are voicing their anger as long convoys of logging truck and trailer units, awaiting the crucial checking and stamping of their logs at ISO Limited for export, hamper the regular flow of traffic and obstruct access to driveways.

Trucks parked, waiting to turn from Triton Ave, blocking the left lane into Mark Rd. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

Each day over the last few weeks the queues have continued to mount, with sometimes up to 50-60 logging trucks with trailers heading for ISO marshalling in York Ave queueing up for hours in the left lanes of the three roads.

Reduced to one lane, the result is unwanted congestion, traffic safety issues, and the loss of revenue to businesses who have had their driveways blocked for days.

A truck driver arriving from Kawerau says each log has to be individually ticketed at the ISO marshalling depot in York Ave, before the truck heads around to an ISO log scaling facility in Hull Rd, and then on to the port to unload the logs.

Trucks at the ISO marshalling depot located between York Ave and Triton Ave viewed from the Triton Ave side. Trucks pull in from York Ave and exit into Triton Ave before heading on to Portside Dr and Hull Rd. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

After waiting for hours, trucks have also been observed going “flat tack” from the first depot to the second, swerving without stopping through the stop sign from Triton Ave onto Portside Drive.

A business owner who says he rang Police but was placed on hold, spent 20 minutes trying to get out of a driveway. 

“It’s unsafe, and it’s been going on for a few months. It’s blocking up everyone that’s working there. Businesses are losing revenue. Business owners can’t get to their jobs, and customers can’t get to the business because it’s a total traffic jam.”

A Triton Ave business entrance blocked by a stationary logging truck and trailer unit parked in the left lane, while it waits for trucks to turn into Mark Rd and then into York Ave. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

Another business owner says he nearly had a collision with a logging truck.

“The congestion actually means you have no option but to go down Triton Ave on the wrong side of the road. While I chose this option, a tow truck was coming from a driveway on the right turning left into Triton Ave. We nearly collided.”

“If there was a fire in our building there is no way a fire engine could get in here,” says Jules Bowers, office manager at Novus Glass, who says they have been complaining to Tauranga City Council about the issue since 2021 “and not a thing has been done to rectify any issues” apart from a CCTV camera being installed.

“We had a guy in a wheelchair this morning and we couldn’t help him across the road, he had to go down Hull Road to get an Uber. We get most of our work through insurance, but if we were a small-sized business where people just walk in, they wouldn’t turn up.”

The left lane completely blocked in York Ave, while logging truck and trailer units wait to enter the ISO marshalling depot at the end of York Ave. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

“The inability to access our driveways without endangering ourselves and our clients is unacceptable,” says another business owner.

“Moreover, the forced deviation for vehicles onto the opposite sides of the road, especially around blind corners, is a disaster waiting to happen. It's alarming that despite numerous complaints and a petition from the tenants, the problem remains unresolved.”

Frustration at what business owners are saying is inaction over two years from Tauranga City Council and Police is fuelling the resolve to take matters into their own hands and block the trucks from ISO if the situation continues.

Others have made suggestions for a more organised approach to the truck flow issue.

“I believe ISO need to take ownership of this issue. There is sufficient parking at the checkpoint. Something needs to be done before someone is seriously injured or a life is lost after a collision with a heavy vehicle,” says one business owner.

Stationary trucks with trailers loaded with logs, backed up onto Hull Rd, waiting to turn into Mark Rd.  Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

Another suggests a booking system run by ISO could efficiently manage the trucks' arrival, allowing them to wait in designated areas along the motorways until called in.

“This way, the congestion and inconvenience caused by the current situation in York Ave could be avoided.”

ISO Limited’s Justin Scholes responded by email to business owners on Tuesday, February 20, saying ISO Limited do not contract the trucks nor have direct control over the flow of trucks, but have requested that the traffic flow is better managed and that drivers respect local business owners’ need to access their premises.

“In response to the congestion today, we are implementing practical solutions for the rest of the week, including adding an additional ticketing lane and increasing the number of ticketers to reduce congestion as much as possible.

"We have also forwarded your latest concerns to our customers and are working with them to optimize truck arrival times to alleviate congestion.”

ISO Marshalling facility in Hull Rd, where the trucks go after visiting the York Ave ticketing facility. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

In addition, Justin says they are planning to relocate the existing Hull Rd log scaling facility and the York Ave ticketing facility, and consolidate operations onto one site on Triton Ave.

“The project is in the conceptual design stage, and it is envisaged the operation will transition from the current sites by early 2025,” says Justin.

Jules and Stacey Manning at Novus Glass say they were told in December 2021 that ISO had a site and were moving in early 2022.

A logging truck with trailer leaving the ISO log scaling facility in Hull Rd, crossing Hull Rd before heading on to the port. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

Jules also says on Wednesday afternoon the logging truck traffic came to a complete standstill while an ambulance attended an incident at ISO in York Ave.

“No one could get in and out for over an hour down York Ave and Mark Road. A customer says he couldn’t get through at Hull Rd and ended up coming on his motorbike.”

Diagram showing flow of trucks through the two ISO locations on York Ave and Hull Rd.

Tauranga City Council’s transport network safety and sustainability manager Anna Somerville says they are talking directly with local businesses and hearing their frustration.

“Our parking enforcement team have visited the area on several occasions and we have also installed CCTV cameras to monitor traffic flow,” says Anna.

Tauranga City Council’s Traffic Parking Bylaw 2023, 13.1 states:

“The Council may by resolution:
(a) prohibit or restrict the stopping, standing or parking of vehicles on any roads
(b) limit the stopping, standing or parking of vehicles on any road to vehicles of any specified class or description."

Anna says as the trucks are attended, and not parked, they are unable to issue infringement notices under the Land Transport Act.

“Our staff have been in regular contact with the NZ Police and ISO Limited regarding the issues business owners are raising with us and it is apparent that finding a solution is complex and requires a number of different parties coming together to discuss.”

She says they’ve offered to facilitate a meeting with all involved parties to get everyone around the table to help find proactive and sustainable solutions.

Stationary trucks backed up onto Hull Rd, waiting to turn into Mark Rd to go to the ISO depot in York Ave, while other trucks leaving the ISO log scaling facility in Hull Rd head past on their way to the port following completing their ticketing process.  Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

While some businesses are keen to work with ISO to find a more effective and considerate solution, others are exasperated, saying they “are not prepared to cooperate anymore” and plan to have their customers lined up and blocking the logging trucks from entering ISO.

“It might be helpful to experience the scenario to fully grasp the challenges we face,” says an irate business owner.

“Businesses and/or resident who are experiencing urgent parking/access issues should call our contact centre staff on 07 577 7000, so they can let our Parking team know,” says a council spokesperson.

“People can call and/or email us 24/7 at info@tauranga.govt.nz.”

 

You may also like....

10 comments

Bullies

Posted on 22-02-2024 11:04 | By OG-2024

What a class in hand-washing this is!
WHY are all these small businesses being held hostage by one exporter? BETTER QUESTION is WHY are the 'infamous four' NOT dealing with this issue under urgency??!!
The answer is sadly very simple.
ISO and the export of the majority of New Zealand's best - people/ produce/ minerals/ fisheries/ wealth!! brings in far more to the country (Port, Govt, council, ....) than all these poor small businesses combined.
Here is a thought, ISO/ loggers, take your processes out of town where you have space to park up all day and congest your own businesses and only come into town to drop your materials on the port and then get out again! OH, and watch your damn speed while you are at it!


Wow

Posted on 22-02-2024 12:31 | By Uncle Taka

Oh true have a winge mate


PK

Posted on 22-02-2024 13:35 | By Peter.K

Logs should travel by rail instead of on the road we travel on.
Last week I had my windscreen damaged twice by speeding log trucks on state highway 36. It happened on a road reseal that had 30 kph speed limit. Log trucks traveling at least double that speed. One traveling to Rotorua, the other coming back from Rotorua.
New windscreen now needed.


The Master

Posted on 22-02-2024 14:01 | By Ian Stevenson

Likely Bura-rat requirements to go through the ISO, unsure why necessary and why it is not within the Port facilities.

The "Fab-4" wont do anything about this as it suits the desire for road gridlock, congestion agenda 24/7, they will be soaking it all up as wonderful and more...


Port for the win

Posted on 22-02-2024 14:30 | By antonio

Why not move them all onto the port and stamp the logs on the port?There must be some areas down there you could carry out tallying.


Council does not respect law

Posted on 22-02-2024 14:44 | By jed

I was working with council over the campgrounds legislation act. The council rang me and the council employee said the 1985 campgrounds act does not apply to Tauranga because the law is too old and thus outdated. Even though it is current law!

The problem for me, I was relying on this law to get the council to take some action -- how do you deal with a council that says they can just ignore whatever law because they think it does not apply for whatever reason?


Overit

Posted on 22-02-2024 15:15 | By overit

You little businesses are not as important, so your voice will be drowned out by truck exhausts. I feel for you.


Road User

Posted on 22-02-2024 16:00 | By oceans

I hope these Logging Truck Companies pay far more to be on the road than other users. I don't know how heavy they are but but must have a sugnificant impact on the state of our roads.


@ The Master

Posted on 22-02-2024 17:32 | By Yadick

Interesting comment from you that I must say I agree with.
GREAT idea too, to move it all to the Port.


Wrong

Posted on 23-02-2024 11:39 | By Duegatti

I'm sure Anna is wrong. Parking enforcement includes many stationary offences such as parking on broken yellow lines even with the driver in the vehicle.
I received a time limit infringement while I was in my car.
How about getting a couple of parking wardens out if the CBD and earning some revenue from those truckies?


Leave a Comment


You must be logged in to make a comment.