Thanks to NZTA for Best Practice Response to SH4 Recovery
Mayor Don Cameron said that he wanted to thank the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) for their approach to resolving the issues created by the Te Oreore slip that took out a section of State Highway 4 and cut the main Raetihi to Whanganui link.
“The loss of SH4 and the main Raetihi to Whanganui link was incredibly disruptive to Ruapehu communities and businesses given its economic and social importance to our region,” he said.
“NZTA responded swiftly in both word and on the ground by quickly stating their commitment to fixing SH4 as soon as possible and then organising with Council a series of public meetings in Raetihi to speak directly with the people affected the most.
Significantly NZTA's response was not limited to simply reinstating the road but took into account the wider economic and social impacts of the slip and helping to mitigate these impacts in how they responded.
Their quick response and fronting-up allayed a lot of community fears about NZTA's intentions and the future of State Highway 4 while helping to suppress the 'fake news' that pops-up at times like this.”
Mayor Cameron noted that NZTA's commitment to working with local stakeholders from the very start including Council, local iwi, land and business owners and the wider community was also best practice and a hallmark of the response.
“This included ensuring that where possible local businesses benefited from any spending including on things such as communications.
I would also like to thank Ngati Rangi, Atihau-Whanganui Incorporated, Raetihi Promotions, Peak FM and the many other local individuals and businesses who have supported the response effort.
The community coming together and working pro-actively and positively with NZTA has been another notable aspect of this response.
This cooperation allowed NZTA to quickly establish a temporary route while undertaking the complex geotechnical work required to design a resilient permanent solution that takes into account cultural heritage, the needs of landowners and protects the existing landscape, plants and animals.”
Mayor Cameron said that NZTA plan to start work on the permanent road in the summer of 2021.
“This is great news at this time for Ruapehu and the wider regional economic and social recovery from COVID-19,” he said.