Home > News > Archive > 2nd June 2005

Our growth key roading factor

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier

HousesWaipa District’s rapidly growing population has been recognised by the Regional Land Transport Committee as a key issue it needs to make allowance for in developing a land transport strategy for the greater Waikato region.

“The Regional Land Transport Strategy will be an important document that will drive transport direction in the region over the next 20 years. It will also provide a blueprint for how the work will be funded,” says chairman of the committee, Angus Macdonald.

An explosion in the popularity of Waipa’s lifestyle blocks and huge ‘dormitory’ development in Cambridge have been strong drivers of the district’s burgeoning population in recent years.

Te Awamutu has been held back in comparison to its urban Waipa neighbour Cambridge due to a shortage of subdivisions, but the tide has turned with several popular subdivisions opened up recently and more on the way.

After endorsing a substantive report on the key transport issues facing the region – the Regional Land Transport Committee decided to move forward to the next stage of developing and evaluating a range of strategic options that will respond to the issues.

“This is a major step forward,” says Mr Macdonald. “It represents an important move towards gaining a regionwide understanding of transport issues, which draws together the knowledge of a wide range of agencies. With this strong knowledge base, we can now move forward to the next stage of identifying and evaluating our key strategic options.”

Mr Macdonald says the evaluation stage will be completed towards the end of this year, and will then lead into the formal consultation process on the proposed Regional Land Transport Strategy early in 2006. Among the key issues raised by the report are concerns that:

  • Waikato region has 10% of New Zealand’s population, yet contains 15% of the State highway network, and carries nearly 20% of the national road freight (which raises stakeholder concerns that the population-based regional funding allocation model unfairly disadvantages the region).
  • The region carries a high proportion of through traffic and heavy vehicles (many heading to Auckland or Tauranga ports).
  • Needs to plan for increased population growth, particularly in the Hamilton City, Waikato and Waipa districts.
  • Must provide for a aging population, who may require more public transport and disability access services.
  • Must deal with growing congestion.
  • Must make long-term strategic decisions on inter-regional corridors – for example whether to promote SH2 or SH29as the preferred route into the Bay of Plenty.

The Regional Land Transport Committee brings together agencies such as Environment Waikato, the 12 district councils, Transit NZ, the Police, Land Transport NZ, the Road Transport Association and representatives from a range of related organisations.