Road, rail, cycle link with Hawke's Bay on agenda

Regions co-operate on transport links.

Regions co-operate on transport links.

WORKING TOGETHER: The new joint regional transport governance group made up of CHB Mayor Alex Walker, HBRC transport committee chairman Alan Dick, Wairoa Mayor Craig Little, Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon and Gisborne Regional Transport Committee chairman Bill Burdett. Picture by Karen Hadfield

GISBORNE Mayor Meng Foon says he is working with two Hawke’s Bay mayors and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to assess a $100 million combined road, rail and cycle trail proposal to link Gisborne and Napier airports.

Last week a transport lobby group proposed improvements to the Napier-Gisborne road link that would include use of the rail corridor.

The feasibility of the proposals put forward by the Eastern Transport Infrastructure Group (ETIG) will now be studied as part of the research into Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s land transport plan.

In preparation for the review of the Regional Land Transport Plan 2015, the HBRC Regional Transport Committee last week decided to meet representatives from neighbouring regions to discuss matters of inter-regional significance that, under the Land Transport Management Act 2003, must be identified in the plan.

Hawke’s Bay’s regional transport committee is expected to have a key role in delivering the “Matariki: Hawke’s Bay Regional Economic Development Strategy”, which includes a $25 million government-funded roading package for State Highway 2.

The newly-released Tairawhiti regional economic development action plan also deals with improvements to SH2, through an ongoing examination of an integrated transport strategy for Gisborne. The meeting agreed a governance structure was required to oversee the overlapping projects.

Speaking to The Gisborne Herald, Mayor Meng Foon said the governance group would involve the Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay regional transport committees working together on several issues, including a rail-trail linking Gisborne and Napier airports.

Collaboration

“We intend to collaborate, working on our common asset — SH2 from Opotiki to Napier.”

Mr Foon said it was agreed that the mayors of Gisborne, Wairoa and Central Hawke’s Bay would support the rail trail feasibility “airport-to- airport” idea.

“I look forward to working together to add prosperity to our eastern regions.”

The governance group comprises Central Hawke’s Bay Mayor Alex Walker, Wairoa Mayor Craig Little, Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon, HBRC Regional Transport Committee chairman Alan Dick and Gisborne Regional Transport Committee chairman Bill Burdett.

The Wairoa Star reported that ETIG representative Rex McIntyre said that under the proposals, SH2 between Tutira and Tongoio would be realigned along a new shared road/rail/cycle corridor starting in the Esk Valley and largely using the existing railway alignment.

State Highway 2 at the Waikare Gorge would also be realigned and bridged in the same way as the Matahorua Gorge to potentially become a shared corridor.

Mr McIntyre said detailed investigations could be done on a realignment of the Morere Hill section on SH2 to avoid active landslide areas on the southern approaches and steep hill sections.

“There is a budget set aside for the New Zealand Transport Agency to conduct maintenance on SH2, but I believe before anything happens a feasibility study needs to be done,” Mr McIntyre said.

“A study is critical before any money is wasted on patching up the roads and railway.”

Assessing land transport

Hastings district councillor Tania Kerr said the concept Mr McIntyre talked about was covered in the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s land transport plan, which would assess land transport between Opotiki and Napier.

Mrs Kerr said work on a business case on the plan would begin soon and the entire railway corridor in the region would be looked at.

Mr McIntyre said the worst section of the road link was between Putorino and Tangoio, particularly the sharp corner known as Devil’s Elbow. Work had been done on the corner in the past but it was still a concern for ETIG.

Mr McIntyre said the group believed there was a strong case for options to be looked at.

Vast improvements were available in terms of civil security and social, economic, environmental and community outcomes.

After the meeting, Mr McIntyre said he was pleased with the committee’s response to the proposal.

“It is the best reaction we have had so far,” he said.

“The main point is we don’t want to spend $25 million on patching up the roads and rail when $100m could be spent on doing it this way (the proposal).”

Wairoa District Council engineering manager Jamie Cox commended Mr McIntyre on his efforts to improve State Highway 2.

“It would certainly go a long way to achieving a one-hour travel time between Wairoa and Napier,” Mr Cox said.

The committee recommended the feasibility of the proposal be studied as part of the regional land transport plan process.

GISBORNE Mayor Meng Foon says he is working with two Hawke’s Bay mayors and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to assess a $100 million combined road, rail and cycle trail proposal to link Gisborne and Napier airports.

Last week a transport lobby group proposed improvements to the Napier-Gisborne road link that would include use of the rail corridor.

The feasibility of the proposals put forward by the Eastern Transport Infrastructure Group (ETIG) will now be studied as part of the research into Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s land transport plan.

In preparation for the review of the Regional Land Transport Plan 2015, the HBRC Regional Transport Committee last week decided to meet representatives from neighbouring regions to discuss matters of inter-regional significance that, under the Land Transport Management Act 2003, must be identified in the plan.

Hawke’s Bay’s regional transport committee is expected to have a key role in delivering the “Matariki: Hawke’s Bay Regional Economic Development Strategy”, which includes a $25 million government-funded roading package for State Highway 2.

The newly-released Tairawhiti regional economic development action plan also deals with improvements to SH2, through an ongoing examination of an integrated transport strategy for Gisborne. The meeting agreed a governance structure was required to oversee the overlapping projects.

Speaking to The Gisborne Herald, Mayor Meng Foon said the governance group would involve the Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay regional transport committees working together on several issues, including a rail-trail linking Gisborne and Napier airports.

Collaboration

“We intend to collaborate, working on our common asset — SH2 from Opotiki to Napier.”

Mr Foon said it was agreed that the mayors of Gisborne, Wairoa and Central Hawke’s Bay would support the rail trail feasibility “airport-to- airport” idea.

“I look forward to working together to add prosperity to our eastern regions.”

The governance group comprises Central Hawke’s Bay Mayor Alex Walker, Wairoa Mayor Craig Little, Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon, HBRC Regional Transport Committee chairman Alan Dick and Gisborne Regional Transport Committee chairman Bill Burdett.

The Wairoa Star reported that ETIG representative Rex McIntyre said that under the proposals, SH2 between Tutira and Tongoio would be realigned along a new shared road/rail/cycle corridor starting in the Esk Valley and largely using the existing railway alignment.

State Highway 2 at the Waikare Gorge would also be realigned and bridged in the same way as the Matahorua Gorge to potentially become a shared corridor.

Mr McIntyre said detailed investigations could be done on a realignment of the Morere Hill section on SH2 to avoid active landslide areas on the southern approaches and steep hill sections.

“There is a budget set aside for the New Zealand Transport Agency to conduct maintenance on SH2, but I believe before anything happens a feasibility study needs to be done,” Mr McIntyre said.

“A study is critical before any money is wasted on patching up the roads and railway.”

Assessing land transport

Hastings district councillor Tania Kerr said the concept Mr McIntyre talked about was covered in the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s land transport plan, which would assess land transport between Opotiki and Napier.

Mrs Kerr said work on a business case on the plan would begin soon and the entire railway corridor in the region would be looked at.

Mr McIntyre said the worst section of the road link was between Putorino and Tangoio, particularly the sharp corner known as Devil’s Elbow. Work had been done on the corner in the past but it was still a concern for ETIG.

Mr McIntyre said the group believed there was a strong case for options to be looked at.

Vast improvements were available in terms of civil security and social, economic, environmental and community outcomes.

After the meeting, Mr McIntyre said he was pleased with the committee’s response to the proposal.

“It is the best reaction we have had so far,” he said.

“The main point is we don’t want to spend $25 million on patching up the roads and rail when $100m could be spent on doing it this way (the proposal).”

Wairoa District Council engineering manager Jamie Cox commended Mr McIntyre on his efforts to improve State Highway 2.

“It would certainly go a long way to achieving a one-hour travel time between Wairoa and Napier,” Mr Cox said.

The committee recommended the feasibility of the proposal be studied as part of the regional land transport plan process.

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winston moreton - 4 months ago
"Mr Foon said it was agreed that the mayors of Gisborne, Wairoa and Central Hawke's Bay would support the rail trail feasibility 'airport-to- airport' idea." But whose wonderful idea is that? His?

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