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NZTA releases decision on Te Ahu a Turanga Panel of Commissioners’ report

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The NZ Transport Agency has today released its final decision on the Notice of Requirement for the designation of a new road corridor to replace the closed State Highway 3 through the Manawatū Gorge.

Portfolio Manager Sarah Downs says the Agency has considered the recommendations by the panel of commissioners and has largely accepted all of the proposed conditions.

“We are particularly pleased that the panel supports our proposals to develop a sealed path for pedestrians and cyclists that is separated from the carriageway as part of the Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway project.

“The Agency is also excited to work with the community to invest the proposed $1 million fund to create recreational paths to promote tourism and economic growth and connect with the other project features.

“We had to adjust the conditions recommended by the panel that required the dimensions of the shared path to be in accordance with the Austroads design guide. This is because we need design flexibility in sensitive environmental, land use and land ownership constrained areas.

“We also welcome the panel’s proposed approach to managing effects on AgResearch’s field trial at Ballantrae Station. However, the panel recommended to avoid an area of the field trial, known as ‘Big Hill’, which is unfortunately not feasible.

“Instead, this condition has been changed to require effects on this area to be minimised and to reinstate a prescribed upper limit on the amount of land through the trial site that can be used for transportation uses including construction.”

Ms Downs says the Agency will also limit the area of effect and establish a fund for the benefit of AgResearch for ongoing research at the trial site or elsewhere.

The final decision and conditions can be found here(external link).

Councils are required to notify the decision within 15 working days of receipt from the NZ Transport Agency, and any appeal on the decision needs to be filed with the Environment Court within 15 working days after that notification.

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