The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) today announced that the preferred route for the Rotorua Eastern Arterial (REA) is a route between Te Ngae Road and the Lake edge on land which has been designated for this purpose since 1963.
At a Rotorua District Council meeting today and a meeting with local iwi representatives the agency’s Regional Director Harry Wilson said the investigation into options to improve the city’s eastern corridor and help to plan its future identified this route with - some adjustments to the designation as the best performing option in terms of supporting the city’s economic growth objectives and managing congestion through this busy corridor.
Mr Wilson said the preferred option was chosen because it will deliver the best outcomes and benefits including:
The route chosen is the most economic option and takes into consideration safety, efficiency and wider economic benefits with the least impact on directly affected land owners and businesses.
Mr Wilson said the next step for the project is to confirm the extent of land required and to prepare a Notice of Requirement (NoR) for alteration to the existing designation which has been confirmed in the City Plan since 1963. The NoR will be lodged with Rotorua District Council and if confirmed will be included in the District Plan.
“Once the NoR is lodged with the Council, it will be publicly notified and a public hearing may be held. Any party may make submissions in support or opposition, and request to be ‘heard’ at the Council Hearing. This is a very important part of the process.”
He says as a key part of the preparation of the NoR, the NZTA needs to complete the consultation process with key stakeholders, affected land owners and Iwi.
The Council will then make a recommendation, with or without conditions, and if the NZTA are happy with the recommendation, they will accept it, and the Council will then notify submitters and directly affected landowners of the outcome. If there are no appeals to the decision, the changes to the existing designation will be included in the District Plan.
Mr Wilson says no date has been set for the construction of this new highway as this is dependent on future demand. However, the agency in conjunction with the local council will proceed with planning for this road now to ensure when demand requires we are ready to go.