Environment Waikato has granted resource consents for realignment of the Raglan Deviation. Transit New Zealand lodged an application to disturb land, discharge overburden in a high risk erosion area, construct culverts and discharge stormwater during the construction of the realignment.
A total of 17 submissions were received on the proposal in support and opposition, from Whaingaroa Harbour Care, landowners and the Whaingaroa Environment Centre. The 2.7 km of existing highway will be replaced with 2.1 km of new highway, incorporating a 1.2 km passing lane for uphill traffic. The new alignment will adopt a more direct route to the valley floor with large radius curves.
Up to 295,000 cubic metres of cut is proposed across a number of gully features, with embankments hydro seeded and planted with native vegetation. Culverts would be needed in existing gullies across a number of water courses.
Submitters asked for rest areas to be included, native vegetation to be planted and stormwater and road runoff separated with enviro pods placed in all culverts. Replacing blocked culverts and providing fish passages would increase habitat and fishery values in the sub catchments.
The applicant said the proposal was a unique opportunity with partnerships formed and land made available for the project, which would improve the road, fish passage and long term silt retention.
In granting the applications, the Hearing Committee said it recognised the obvious active community in both support and opposition to the proposal, but said it only had the authority to assess the effects, not how money was allocated for Transit NZ projects.
The contribution of land for the project was considered an outstanding gift and instrumental for the success of the project in terms of environmental outcomes. Many efforts were made to consult with the correct people and iwi invited to be involved in the partnership. It noted submitters’ concerns and reviews would occur three yearly.
Environment Waikato would undertake monitoring as it was important to ensure the consent holder was staying within the bounds of the consent and not causing adverse effects on the environment.