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Published: 2008-07-11 00:00:00

An Environment Waikato hearing commissioner has granted resource consents needed for Transit New Zealand’s proposed SH1 Te Rapa Bypass.

Transit is still awaiting land designation recommendations from Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council. These are also needed before the project can go ahead.

The three councils recently held a joint hearing to consider Transit’s applications.

The resource consent applications to Environment Waikato related purely to activities such as soil disturbance, vegetation clearance, stream damming and diversion, culvert construction, stormwater discharges and a water take from the Waikato River.

In his decision released today, Environment Waikato hearing commissioner Rex Hawkins was satisfied appropriate consent conditions were in place to address submitter concerns about flood risks, dust impacts and water quality effects.

Environment Waikato has asked Transit to review its storm water and culvert designs and to consult with land owners during the final design stages to address any potential flooding issues. Transit will need written approval from Environment Waikato on final designs before starting any work.

Transit will also be required to develop a series of comprehensive management plans to mitigate the effects of dust, sediment and erosion.

The extensive use of vegetated swales along the majority of the proposed bypass will provide water quality treatment by removing contaminants before they reach any water courses.

Mr Hawkins concluded the resource consents for the bypass could be granted because the proposal’s impacts on the environment would be "no more than minor", as long as consent conditions were complied with. The proposal was also consistent with relevant plans and polices, including the Resource Management Act.

Transit plans to re-align SH1 by building a new six-kilometre stretch between Avalon Dr and Horotiu. Two extra traffic lanes on Avalon Dr between Gilchrist St and Crawford St are also planned.

The bypass is designed to ease and lessen the environmental impacts of traffic congestion, improve road safety, help vehicles and goods flow more efficiently through the city and enhance the region’s economic well being.