Al­ter­na­tive route from Gis­borne forests sought

New Zealand Logger - - Forest Talk -

FOR­EST COM­PA­NIES SAY AN AL­TER­NA­TIVE route for log trucks north of Gis­borne could take the pres­sure off the coastal road and im­prove safety.

They would like to see an up­grade of key in­land roads to pro­vide im­proved ac­cess to forests at the back of Tauwhareparae, be­hind To­laga Bay and Toko­maru Bay.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from PF Olsen and Hiku­rangi For­est Farms re­cently ad­dressed the Gis­borne City Coun­cil’s As­sets and In­fra­struc­ture Com­mit­tee to lobby for up­grad­ing an al­ter­na­tive route from the forests to the port, via Hoko­roa, Waimata Val­ley, SH2 and Awa­puni Roads. This would al­low them to truck six mil­lion tonnes of logs en­vis­aged over ten years from To­laga Bay forests through Waimata Val­ley.

Be­cause it fol­lows a ridge, they say it would pro­vide a more re­silient route to the town and port for all road users, as well as log trucks. It would also be much safer, as there are fewer bridges and there would be less in­ter­ac­tion with traf­fic com­pared to the busy coastal route to the north of Gis­borne.

The city coun­cil has al­ready re­quested $100 mil­lion from the gov­ern­ment’s re­gional de­vel­op­ment fund to help up­grade and main­tain roads in the re­gion which, PF Olsen’s Peter Clark sug­gested, would be the ideal source of money for the project.

But he also says that ru­ral roads as a whole in New Zealand need to be given higher pri­or­ity be­cause the cur­rent fund­ing sys­tem is putting them at a dis­ad­van­tage to higher pro­file state high­ways.

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