NZTA to lodge consent for link to Ruakura developent
Transport Agency to lodge consent which will allow for interchange to link to proposed Ruakura development
The New Zealand Transport Agency says it intends to lodge later this month the Notice of Requirement (NoR) to alter the designation for the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway. The move will allow for an interchange at Ruakura to link the Hamilton section of the Expressway with the proposed Ruakura development.
Since the Transport Agency’s public information days held in May 2013, Tainui Group Holdings (TGH) has lodged a Private Plan Change (PPC) request with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). This has been accepted by the Minister for the Environment, meaning the TGH application will be heard and considered by an independent Board of Inquiry (BOI), with hearings starting in May 2014.
TGH’s PPC application requests provision for development at Ruakura which includes a freight and logistics terminal (inland port) adjacent to both the existing rail corridor and what will be the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway. In order to limit the amount of freight traffic using local roads in the area, the Transport Agency’s proposed interchange will be located close to the Ruakura development.
An interchange at Ruakura has been previously identified as an option for the Expressway. This would include the closure of part of Ruakura Road where the Expressway passes over it. Now that the BOI process is underway, the Transport Agency intends to lodge an alteration to the current designation to provide for an interchange at Ruakura.
If the Ruakura interchange proceeds, there will be no connection where the Expressway crosses Morrinsville road, as currently designated.
The Transport Agency’s Project Services Manager, Peter Simcock says the intention is to lodge the alteration to designation for the Ruakura interchange with both the Hamilton City and Waikato District councils on Friday 21 February 2014.
“By lodging the alteration to designation for the Hamilton Section, we hope to provide clarity in regards to our intentions, but we also want to be careful as to not complicate the current Board of Inquiry process, so it is likely that we will request the NoR application be placed on hold rather than be formally notified at this stage,” says Mr Simcock.
“This lodgement also allows us to formally signal our intentions regarding the Ruakura interchange to all parties to the BOI process, while ensuring the Transport Agency has the opportunity to amend the proposed interchange arrangements to respond appropriately to the BOI decision.”
Once the application has been lodged with the two respective councils, Mr Simcock says the Transport Agency will also make the information available on their project website (www.nzta.govt.nz/hamilton).
When the formal notification process begins submissions to the Notice of Requirement to alter the designation of the Hamilton section of the Expressway will be invited by both councils, he says.