Alternative route from Gisborne forests sought
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.