Tamahere residents and others south of Hamilton say they are in limbo as a proposed $100 million-plus roading project stifles their plans to sell or build until the NZ Transport Agency is ready to buy the land in at least eight years.
The preferred route for the Southern Links roading network linking State Highway 1 at Kahikatea Drive across the Waikato River to Tamahere Drive has been released this week and will carve through Pencarrow Rd and Narrows Landing Golf Course, reports the NZ Herald.
It will also link the central city to State Highway 3 from Hamilton Airport through Cobham Drive to the CBD as agencies link state highways and urban arterial routes.
Construction of the roads will not begin for between 10 and 15 years and some residents at a Tamahere open day yesterday were shocked to see for the first time it would not pass through Narrows Bridge but instead swing past Narrows Landing and be built further south.
In July the community was presented with three options, which included using or crossing Airport Rd, Pencarrow Rd, Pickering Rd and Tamahere Drive and the feedback helped the agency come up with the preferred route.
The new route leaves the Pencarrow Stud Farm intact and will eventually take pressure off Airport Rd.
A landowner in Narrows Landing and Tamahere, who asked not to be named for commercial reasons, said the biggest problem was that landowners would now be in limbo until the agency offered them deals.
“They have to quicken the timeframe otherwise it holds everyone to ransom because you can’t do anything with it. They’ve made all the land non-saleable.
“I think there should be counsellors here to counsel people as this has destroyed whole lives.”
He said that while he supported the new roading in principle, residents could not be left in limbo.
The new roading network will also carve through the 18-hole Narrows Golf Course. Club president John Bridle said the club would begin working on what it would do after hearing of the plans this week. Members were still being briefed.
“It’s business as usual. This is still 10 or 15 years away.”
Transport Agency state highway manager Kaye Clark said the agency did not usually start buying land from affected parties until about two years before construction was set to begin.
Property owners would be waiting at least eight years before the agency paid them out.
She said it was too early to tell how many properties would be affected but it could be several hundred.