Controversial roading project canned

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Rotorua Eastern Arterial route
Rotorua Eastern Arterial route

Rotorua Eastern Arterial
- Designation put in place under the Public Works Act in 1963
- Runs through land belonging to three Te Arawa hapu
- Hapu involved are Hurunga te Rangi, Te Roro o te Rangi and Ngati Uenukukopako
- The NZTA has removed the designation, the road will no longer be built
- Upgrades to Te Ngae Rd will take place instead

A controversial Rotorua roading project, that's been on the cards since 1963, has finally been dumped.

But, what will happen to land held by the Crown, previously owned by three Te Arawa hapu and purchased under the Public Works Act, is not yet known.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has today confirmed the Rotorua Eastern Arterial (REA) will not be constructed and the designation over the land will no longer be required.

The REA was put in place to cater for expected growth in the district and covered land between Te Ngae Rd and the edge of Lake Rotorua.

NZTA Waikato/Bay of Plenty Regional Director Harry Wilson said investigations show growth can be managed with upgrades to the existing route along Te Ngae Rd and the REA was not seen as a long term solution to ease congestion along Rotorua's eastern corridor.

Late last month, Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced a $24 million roading package for the upgrading of Te Ngae Rd, but left the door open regarding what the Government would do with land held under the REA designation.

Today's announcement allows the land to be used to support the Rotorua Lakes Council's spatial planning and gives the community and developers certainty, Mr Wilson said.

"Rotorua is a key connection point for road transport in the central and upper North Island, linking industries such as tourism and forestry with the Port of Tauranga," he said.

"The city's eastern corridor has long been identified as the location for the majority of future residential and employment development in Rotorua and the Transport Agency has been carrying out extensive investigations to find the best transport plan for this area's future.

"These investigations show that we can continue to support growth and improve Rotorua's congestion issues by upgrading State Highway 30/Te Ngae Rd corridor and the designation for the REA is no longer needed."

Mr Wilson said after undertaking a further detailed and in-depth review of all options the NZTA was confident the decision to lift the designation was the right one.

"The Transport Agency will continue to work with Rotorua Lakes Council to identify future improvements, such as more four-laning and projects to separate state highway and local road traffic as Rotorua grows to ensure the corridor supports traffic volumes into the future.

"For now, we plan to start work on the initial $24 million roading package which will focus on the eastern and central corridors with an upgrade to State Highway 30/Te Ngae Rd.

"This will include improvements at the Te Ngae and Tarawera Rd intersection, four-laning a section of Te Ngae Rd, and improved walking and cycling connections.

"As part of this package State Highway 30A Amohau St will be revoked and the ownership handed to Rotorua Lakes Council to support their CBD revitalisation strategy."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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