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Ranui pine plantation to be harvested

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The NZ Transport Agency is advising that harvesting of approximately 40 hectares of pine trees from the Ranui pine plantation in Porirua is scheduled to begin in mid-September. The pine plantation is in the area where the Transmission Gully motorway is being built.

“The pine plantation is now 23 years old and the timing is right for the trees to be harvested, both in terms of the clearance necessary to construct the motorway, and the practicalities of removing the harvested logs. Once the Transmission Gully motorway is constructed, it will not be possible to access the area to remove the harvested logs,” Neil Walker, Highways Manager, NZ Transport Agency.

“The construction of the motorway also provides an opportunity to remove the logs through the project’s southern site access off the Johnsonville-Porirua motorway near Linden. Previously the access for log removal would have been through the Ranui residential area.

The harvesting operation will start in the south, near Linden and move north, finishing near Ranui.

An area of pine trees on the plantation’s margin, near Ranui will be left as a visual buffer during motorway construction. This buffer will be harvested following the motorway construction.

Access tracks, built to facilitate the harvest, will be noticeable on the hillside. Once the harvest is complete, the land will be left to naturally regenerate. To help prevent erosion, trees stumps will remain on site, and open areas will be grassed.

“Residents in the adjacent area may notice noise associated with the harvest such as machinery and chainsaws. We appreciate their patience and tolerance during the harvest operation. Harvesting will generally take place between 7am  and 6pm, and there will be no site works on Sundays. We expect the harvesting operation to take around six months, depending on the weather,” Mr Walker says.

“The process of building a large infrastructure project like a motorway does create an environmental and community impact, however the Transmission Gully motorway is being designed and constructed with sustainability in mind. The project  will be undertaking  a range of measures to ensure ecological and erosion protection. This includes providing protection so that existing areas of native bush can regenerate naturally as well as new plantings of native trees. This will help reduce erosion and sediment entering streams and ultimately the Porirua Harbour,” Mr Walker says.

Porirua City Council Mayor, Nick Leggett, acknowledged the loss of the Ranui pine plantation would not go unnoticed.

“The hills that the pine trees were planted on are an important part of our local landscape, and the harvesting of the trees will change the view for residents and commuters alike.

“While there is a short term visual impact for our community there is a long-term gain with the Transmission Gully Motorway providing an important gateway to Wellington, Hutt Valley and Porirua in the event of a major disaster. Not only is it key to improved access during any recovery but it is also economically and socially important to the entire Wellington region.”

Transmission Gully is being delivered as a Public Private Partnership by the Wellington Gateway Partnership, on behalf of the NZ Transport Agency.

About this Project:

In July 2014, the NZ Transport Agency signed a Public Private Partnership (PPP) contract with the Wellington Gateway Partnership (WGP) to design, construct, finance, operate and maintain the new Transmission Gully motorway for the 25 years that will follow the construction period. It is expected to have the motorway open for traffic in 2020.

WGP has contracted a joint venture of CPB Contractors (formerly Leighton Contractors) and HEB Construction (CPB HEB JV) to undertake design and construction.

The Transmission Gully motorway will be a key component of the 110km Wellington Northern Corridor road of national significance, which when fully completed will provide a safer, more reliable and more efficient highway connection from Levin to Wellington, connecting the city to the growing economic centres of Kapiti and the Manawatu and subsequently the wider North Island.

Importantly for the Wellington region, in the event of a major earthquake, it will be quicker to reinstate the Transmission Gully motorway than the existing State Highway 1. The motorway will also reduce traffic on the existing State Highway 1 which will provide a safer environment for communities along this route.

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