The new Puhoi to Wellsford road of national significance is about the future but the NZ Transport Agency says planning and construction of the route also has a lot to do with its historic past and its present day environment.
One area attracting attention from the NZTA as its consults with local people about the new highway is the Dome Valley, which includes a section of the existing State Highway 1.
“This part of Rodney is significant for two very different reasons – one has to do with its past and the other with the present,” says the NZTA’s State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland Tommy Parker.
The Dome Forest Conservation Area is acknowledged as containing a number of important heritage sites such as an historic log skidder close to the current highway. It is also the home to the endangered Hochstetter frog, one of four remaining native New Zealand frogs which is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The area is classified as an Outstanding Nature Landscape by the Auckland Regional Council due to its mature native vegetation, including kauri, rimu and kahikatea.
“Working together with the local community, local authorities and interested parties to identify special areas is vital for NZTA. Pinpointing as many special areas like this as possible helps us to do our very best to design a specific route that acknowledges those areas and provides mitigation where required,” Mr Parker says.
Other examples of important sites include businesses like Southern Paprika Limited north of Warkworth, family graves in rural areas, places of importance to Maori, and special fauna and flora such as rare native mistletoe.
“When it comes to the fine detail in planning the route of a new highway, there is no substitute for local information,” says Mr Parker.
Any further information on the project and the current consultation process can be found at www.nzta.govt.nz/puhoi-wellsford(external link).