Links road a waste: action group

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The NZ Transport Agency’s final round of information days for the controversial Southern Links road network project are on this week.

In Tamahere, NZTA will be in the community centre on Thursday, May 24 from 2pm to 7pm, giving more detail on the location of the proposed network that a local opposition group believes is unnecessary and wasteful.

Two other information days will be held on Tuesday, May 22, 2-7pm at the Glenview Club, 211 Peacockes Road, and on Saturday, May 26, 10am to 2pm, at the Rukuhia Community Hall.

The planned inland freight port at Ruakura and its support network of the eastern arterial connector road combined with the new Waikato Expressway mean Southern Links’ east/west link through Tamahere is redundant, says Tamahere’s Southern Links Action Group.

Group chairman Michael Holmes said future, priority industrial development will be in the Ruakura area and around the Waikato Expressway.

“That will mean the existing roads will quite adequately support the proposed future traffic flows to this [Tamahere] area,” he said.

The action group is calling on Tamahere residents to make it “crystal clear” to Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee and NZTA that the Tamahere and wider community strongly opposes the proposal “on the basis that it is a waste of public funds, unnecessary and unlikely to be built, yet will place a designation over the Tamahere community for decades.”

Holmes said NZTA told the recent Waikato Regional Council’s Regional Policy Statement hearings on May 3 that no significant modelling of the impact of the Ruakura development on Southern Links had been done.

There were also many other calls on NZTA’s funding, including the Roads of National Significance and the Canterbury rebuild.

Due to the funding pressures it was likely that Southern Links, for which NZTA does not have funding, would not be completed until 2041, the regional council heard. Previously, it’s been suggested the project might be completed by around 2030.

Southern Links is a joint project between NZTA and the Hamilton City Council and in a recent statement State Highway Manager Kaye Clark said its benefits would be “better linkage and access across and in and out of Hamilton City and surrounding districts for all motorists, which supports the region’s growth strategy by enabling more efficient movement of people and freight.”

“Those benefits would include enabling economic growth, reducing travel times, improving road safety, reducing congestion and creating further opportunities for Waikato communities.”

Clark said “refinements” to the Southern Links network would be explained at this week’s information days, which would also provide a further opportunity for people to talk directly to the project team and give feedback on the details of the preferred network.

“The project team has been consulting with Waipa and Waikato District Council staff and the airport to refine the preferred network. A key aim is to ensure that the connectivity of the local road network for residents and businesses continues to operate well into the future and supports links with state highways.”

“There’ll also be more detail available around the location of the network, including the width of the proposed project, the properties that will be affected and the types of measures that could be employed to mitigate effects such as noise. Display material will show how the various interchanges and intersections will look.”

Click for NZTA detail on Southern Links.

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