Update on proposed new State Highway 3 route replacing closed Manawatu Gorge route

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineOctober 4, 2018

Notice of Requirement

A Notice of Requirement (NoR) to designate land for the proposed road corridor will be lodged later this month with the Manawatu District, Palmerston North City and Tararua District Councils. The NoR is a critical step to obtain statutory Resource Management Act (RMA) approvals to authorise the proposed new road across the Ruahine Ranges.

The designation the NZ Transport Agency is seeking will:

  • identify the land corridor within which the proposed road will be constructed;
  • provide a framework within which the design of the new road and any mitigation must occur;
  • provide certainty for the community and affected landowners about location and the nature of the works, and
  • protect the designated land from activities that may compromise the proposed work.

Once the NoR has been lodged, the local councils will publicly notify the documentation and allow submissions to be lodged. A public hearing will then be held where the NZTA and all submitters can be heard.

Following the designation process, additional RMA consents will need to be obtained from Horizons Regional Council to authorise works such as earthworks, discharges to ground and water, as well as works in streams and rivers. These consents will be applied for once the detailed design of the project has been developed.

Public information sessions

NZTA will be holding a series of information sessions where the public can view the NoR. They will present information on the current preliminary design, what effects construction will have and how they intend to mitigate these. An updated flyover animation will also be shown.

The sessions will be held in early November in Palmerston North, Feilding, Ashhurst, Woodville, Dannevirke and Pahiatua, with dates and venues still to be finalised.

Alternative routes

The signage on the Saddle Road is currently being reviewed and new improved signage will be installed within the next month.

Wet weather is making maintenance of the Saddle Road difficult, with only minor pothole patching possible at present. NZTA is planning more extensive maintenance once the weather improves and will operate westbound closures while this work is underway. They say the need for one lane closures will reduce as the maintenance work improves the standard of the road over time.

The Saddle Road upgrade project will continue this year with the road works at the summit. NZTA will also be completing various overlays to improve the strength of the road, which should reduce the need for maintenance works. Work will also continue on the extensive maintenance programme on the Pahiatua Track.

Realignment works near Woodville have started, which will improve the safety and efficiency of the intersections and rural roads around Woodville. There will be some delays as NZTA progresses two corner realignments at Woodlands Road, but they will try to keep any disruptions to a minimum. The works should be completed by Christmas.