By ANNE BESTON, environment reporter

Thames coast residents say they will chain themselves to pohutukawa to stop Transit New Zealand chopping the trees down to make way for logging trucks.

The roading authority has released a report that residents say shows 56 trees along the scenic highway that runs between Thames and Coromandel townships are for the chop.

The twisting, winding road is famous for the flaming red pohutukawa that stretch along its length.

Waiomu Bay resident Cliff Robinson said Transit should look at more "common sense" options rather than wholesale felling of the trees.

"It's lunacy. We will fight them in the court of public opinion and we'll chain ourselves to the trees, that's for sure," he said.

Late last year, Transit revealed plans to chop down 13 trees on a 1.5km stretch of the road between Waiomu and Ruamahanga Bay.

However, the latest plan tags 56 to go, with a further six or seven to be trimmed.

Up to 13 logging trucks a day use the road as milling continues north of Coromandel township.

The road narrows to a single lane at one point.

Transit roading engineer Barry Dowset said it was not definite that all 56 trees would be removed - some might just be trimmed.

But Mr Robinson said the plan clearly showed 56 trees were for the chop.

"Transit just thinks in terms of a state highway. We think in terms of one of the most beautiful roads in the country," he said.

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, who lives in Thames, called the roading authority a "state-owned vandal".

"The road has some of the most stunning views in the country," she said.

"People who want to speed on a straight road should stick to Auckland motorways."

Mr Dowset said it was a "perception" that logging trucks made the road more dangerous but that was not backed up by accident statistics.

Herald Feature: Conservation and Environment

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