The NZ Transport Agency says planning for its new State Highway One from Puhoi to Wellsford road of national significance is stepping up a gear this week with the start of direct consultation with communities.
"We want as much feedback as possible from communities as their views will play an important role as we get into detailed planning for the route this new highway is going to take" says Tommy Parker, State Highway Manager - Auckland and Northland.
NZTA has three proposals on the table:
Public consultation will include engaging with local communities, road users and key stakeholders such as local authorities and emergency services in the northern Rodney and the wider Northland and Auckland regions.
The NZTA wants to use local knowledge to help the next stage of planning for the route selection.
"No planning has been done on where exactly the new highway will go as we would like the community to help us," Mr Parker says.
"There is a lot of local knowledge in communities that we want to tap into. This could include a range of topics such as natural areas, historic sites, cultural and community sites, landslips and unstable land. There is no substitute for local knowledge."
As part of consultation NZTA will also be visiting local properties. People from the project team will be contacting some landowners in northern Rodney to learn more about their area.
"I want to reassure people that this doesn't mean the highway will run through these properties" says Mr Parker. "However, it is necessary for technical specialists to get out and view the land to locate the best route."
Consultation will run for the next five weeks with feedback closing on 26 July 2010. A newsletter is being widely distributed, an updated project website and a freephone line for enquiries. The project team will also be attending meetings in the study area with a range of individuals and groups.