A range of problems have erupted as huge amounts of people continue to visit Te Waihou Blue Springs.
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It’s no longer one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets as visitors to a Waikato spring skyrocket, raising safety concerns as the walkway struggles to cater to the demand.
An investigation is currently underway as South Waikato District council staff look for solutions at the Te Waihou Blue Springs, on the outskirts of Putaruru.
A record number of 5200 people visited the springs in December, increasing to 8949 in January, raising concerns about parking, lack of signage, litter, toilets and dangerous driving.
Group assets manager Ted Anderson said the Springs had become a victim of its own success.
He said there’d been concerns about buses and cars parking on both sides of the road due to a lack of parking at the carpark.
“We do need some road safety improvements. We widened the road and improved the shoulder and did the best with what we’ve got and our success is such we’ve been overwhelmed,” Anderson said.
Councillor Herman Van Rooijen said having no road markings on the 1 kilometre stretch leading to the springs was a safety concern.
“It’s very windy, it’s got one particular sharp S curve so now we are getting a lot of out of town people who have probably never driven on a rural road.
“It’s great the numbers on the walkway have increased but it’s getting quite dangerous. If a accident happens, there’s hell to pay.”
Van Rooijen said logging contractors from Hancock Forestry Management have gone beyond the call of duty, redirecting their trucks during the busiest times.
Owner of Waihou Lodge & Blue Springs Farmstay Cheryl Waite was “livid” when she had trouble getting home one Saturday afternoon.
Lines of cars were parked for 1.5km both sides of the road leading up and past the walkway, she said.