The NZ Transport Agency says work is progressing on a replacement for the current Manawatū Gorge road, with the announcement today that the contract to develop a Detailed Business Case has been awarded to professional services company GHD Advisory.
NZTA Regional Transport Systems Manager Ross I’Anson says the Transport Agency is in the process of compiling possible long term options for a state highway route. The development of the Detailed Business Case will include working with key stakeholders and local communities to identify a preferred alternative option for consideration.
“The Manawatū Gorge project team is busy working on the development of the long list of route options which can potentially provide a long- term, resilient and safe connection through the Ruahine and Tararua Ranges. It’s important that we consider not only those options covered in the 2012 NZ Transport Agency-commissioned report on potential alternatives to the Manawatū Gorge route, but other potential options as well.”
Mr I’Anson says the development of the Detailed Business Case will involve assessing the costs, benefits and viability of constructing each of the options, including the impact each option will have on the environment in the Tararua and Ruahine Ranges. Once a preferred option is developed, detailed investigations and cost estimates will be undertaken in order to inform a request to fund the project from the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP).
“The Transport Agency recognises the strategic importance of the east-west connection between the Manawatū-Whanganui and Hawke’s Bay regions, and we are committed to considering input from everyone who takes the time to put forward their ideas and feedback. We understand how vital this transport link is to people in the region, and we want to ensure that this is reflected in the Detailed Business Case process.”
Mr I’Anson says in the coming weeks a long list of options will be announced, along with details of public open days and other opportunities for people to provide feedback to help identify a preferred option for development. The Transport Agency will identify a preferred option in December 2017.
The Transport Agency encourages people to regularly check the Manawatū Gorge project website, for updates and information on opportunities to provide feedback.