The Heads Rd roundabout may be scrapped after the New Zealand Transport Agency decided it would not fund the project.
The Wanganui District Council planned to build a $1.3 million roundabout at the intersection of Heads Rd, Beach Rd , and Prince St, with a 72 per cent agency subsidy. The council would contribute $364,000, and the agency cover the rest.
Local businesses have asked the council for years to improve the intersection, which is wide and on a curve, with an uncontrolled rail line going through it.
The council approved the project during 10-year plan deliberations after submissions for and against the roundabout. Councillors Rob Vinsen, Rangi Wills and Sue Westwood opposed it.
However, the agency said the project will go on its "reserve" list, which meant it was unlikely to be funded in the near future.
The chairman of the council's infrastructure and property committee, Councillor Ray Stevens, yesterday told the Wanganui Chronicle the roundabout's future would have to be re-assessed.
"This is a real blow. There's Roundabout faces axe
no way we can afford to pay for the entire project," Mr Stevens said.
He was disappointed the agency had not consulted the council about the decision because it would have liked to take part in the process. Work had been scheduled to begin in the current financial year.
The Heads Road Industrial Group, which represents 88 businesses, was one of the main drivers behind the roundabout. Group chairman Darrell Hoskin said members were "very, very disappointed" by the decision.
"We hope to be able to ask NZTA why they made this decision," Mr Hoskin said. The intersection was not Wanganui's most dangerous but it had present safety issues.
"We've said it before, we just hope no one has to die before something is done about it.
"It's an ugly and dangerous intersection, and it has a train track running through the middle of it," Mr Hoskin said.
The group wanted to see the roundabout as a gateway to the Heads Rd industrial area.
"If that intersection was tidied up and looked more attractive, more businesses would want to come to Wanganui," he said.
The agency's Jenny Chetwynd said the roundabout was on the regional reserve list.
"As such, it remains on our funding horizon but is not an immediate priority. Other regional projects, such as the Saddle Rd upgrade, were ranked higher by the Regional Transport Committee and subsequently the NZTA, and a limited amount of regional funds are available over this period," Ms Chetwynd said.
Projects marked "reserve" could rise up the ladder if there were changes to the staging of others with higher status.
Ms Chetwynd said the Wanganui district would receive $29.68 million during the next three years which is about a $500,000 increase.