Palmerston North City Council Mayor Grant Smith says engagement with regional stakeholders to reach a solution that achieves wider strategic objectives for both the region and the country as a whole was important.
“It is important for unlocking future regional economic development that the new State Highway 3 link offers connectivity and alignment to a proposed Regional Freight Ring Road and a new bridge. We are pleased this package of work achieves this,” Mr Smith says.
“It is a great example of central and local government collaboration to optimise public investment in infrastructure for the long term, and reflects the impact of the new Government Policy Statement on Transport, which requires regional economic development considerations to be taken into account.”
Tararua District Mayor Tracey Collis says that this outcome has strong support from a range of local authorities and industry representatives.
“The ongoing instability of the Gorge, which ultimately led to its closure in April 2017, has caused huge disruption for the region. The replacement route has been a matter of priority for the local councils and mayors and its pleasing to have worked so constructively with the Transport Agency to reach a decision that addresses both the immediate issue and the longer term strategic issues for the Tararua District and the wider region,” Ms Collis says.
A detailed business case on the new SH3 route will be finalised over the next few weeks. The project team will then seek resource consents with construction planned to begin in 2020, with the new road completed by 2024.
Option 3 will have an average incline gradient of 5.8%, with a maximum of 8% (in comparison, the current main alternative route, the Saddle Road, has a maximum gradient of 16%).
Travel time is estimated to be 13 minutes for general traffic (compared to an average 16.7 minutes that it took to travel the Manawatū Gorge).
For more information visit: www.nzta.govt.nz/sh3-manawatu-gorge