NZTA progresses Tamahere cut

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The NZ Transport Agency has issued Notices of Requirement for the designation of state highways for the controversial Southern Links transport network that cuts through Tamahere.

Southern Links, an estimated $450 million NZTA initiative in partnership with the Hamilton City Council, seeks to protect a route for approximately 21km of state highway, three new river crossings and 11km of urban arterial network (inside Hamilton’s Peacocke growth area).

Neither NZTA nor the city council has any funding for the design or construction of the project in their respective 10-year plans.

The Notice of Requirement is a formal request to the three councils affected by the project – Waipa and Waikato districts and Hamilton city – for them to protect the proposed NZTA elements of the project n their district plans.

Hamilton City Council, as part of the project, has also issued a Notice of Requirement to protect its proposed elements – the arterial network within the Peacocke growth area.

The Transport Agency and Hamilton City Council have also lodged resource consent applications with Waikato Regional Council for major bridge river or stream crossings.

The councils, after assessing whether any further information is required, will publicly notify the applications, opening the way for public submissions. Property owners directly affected by the project will also be formally notified by the councils.

A hearing before commissioners (appointed by the councils) is likely to be held in 2014.

An action group that formed to oppose the project cutting through Tamahere described Southern Links at the time as a “waste of public funds, unnecessary and unlikely to be built, yet will place a designation over the Tamahere community for decades.”

It was backed by the Tamahere Community Committee, which called for the road network, which will cut through the Narrows Golf Course and Pencarrow Rd on its cross country route to SH 1, to be ditched.

NZTA and the city council say the long term aim of the project is to develop an effective transport network of well-connected state highway and urban arterial routes linking State Highway 1 from Kahikatea Drive in Hamilton to the Waikato Expressway at Tamahere and State Highway 3 from Hamilton international Airport to central and east Hamilton.

Highway Manager, Kaye Clark, said the benefits would be better linkage and access across and in and out of Hamilton City and surrounding districts for all motorists, which would support the local growth strategy by providing efficient movement of vehicles and freighted goods around the Waikato region.

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

Getting the designations in place will protect the preferred transport network so that it can be built when required in the future. It also ensures that any activity that happens on the designated land can be controlled so that it does not make it harder to build the network when required in the future.

Timing for construction will depend on funding availability and priorities, infrastructure servicing for Peacockes, and on the rate of development in the Southern sector area of Hamilton. Neither NZTA nor the city council has any funding set aside for the design or construction of the transport network in their respective 10-year plans.

Initial investigations estimate the project construction costs to be around $450 million. However, as the project progresses to the design and construction phase costs are likely to change as the details of the design of the transport elements become more specific.

Further information about this project is available online at NZTA Southern Links.

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