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Preferred route for Rotorua Eastern Arterial (REA) confirmed

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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:

  • Improved travel time and journey reliability.
  • More efficient connections.
  • Ease congestion by separating state highway and local traffic.
  • Improved safety by reducing conflicting travel movements at intersections.
  • Best long-term solution to meet the needs of the Rotorua Eastern corridor and wider region.
  • Enable lake water quality improvements to proceed.

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. 

Editors note

The current State Highway 30 (Te Ngae Road) serves dual purposes. It’s an important local road serving its community, as well as a nationally strategic state highway moving people and freight through the wider region.

The existing highway is nearing capacity and traffic volumes are forecast to increase, along with safety and congestion problems.

The volume of traffic on SH30 effectively severs (acts as a barrier) the community it serves. Pedestrians, including school children, have to cross a busy road to access schools, shops and other community facilities.

The NZTA’s main objectives for the REA are to:

  • facilitate the movement of freight and tourist traffic along the state highway network and between the central business district and the airport
  • provide a safe, efficient and reliable transport link through Rotorua’s eastern suburbs
  • support the growth in Rotorua’s eastern suburbs and the wider central North Island and Bay of Plenty region
  • enable lake water quality improvements to proceed.

Various route alignments and variations have been investigated looking at forecasted growth (suburban and traffic) as foreseen in the early 1960’s.  The most recent investigation looked at three options; (1) use of the existing designation, (2) upgrade of Te Ngae Road, and (3) Vaughan Road link.

For more information please contact:

Glenda Dobbyn
Senior Advisor Regional Communications
T   07 928 7908
M  021 021 67217
glenda.dobbyn@nzta.govt.nz

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