In 2012, Hastings District Council, Napier City Council and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council adopted the Heretaunga Plains Transportation Study. The study looked at transportation needs based on current land use and future growth. A key part of this was considering the transportation impacts of the Heretaunga Plains Urban Development Strategy, another joint planning exercise by the three councils.
The Heretaunga Plains Transportation Study identified the Whakatu Arterial project as the highest priority transportation project for the region.
The objectives of the road are to enhance and improve the safety and efficiency of the transport network of the district and region so as to:
In 2012 Council facilitated a community-driven process of Enquiry by Design. The Enquiry by Design Working Group consisted of 15 community members representing a broad range of interests supported by Council staff and consultants.
The Group considered a range of options for connecting State Highway 2 to Pakowhai Road against a number of criteria including impacts on landowners, cultural, social and environmental effects, and costs.
The Group participated in a series of eight facilitated workshops that ultimately reduced 8 initial route options identified by the Working Group down to 4 route options to be tested with a multi-criteria analysis. After the multi-criteria analysis process, one preferred option was adopted by the Hastings District Council.
The New Zealand Government assesses the economic efficiency of proposed roading projects in New Zealand to help determine which projects should be funded and when. Normally a benefit cost ratio (BCR) is used. BCR’s take into account construction costs, safety and traffic benefits, land use impacts, economic growth, and a range of other factors and are ranked in the following categories:
The Whakatu Arterial Link has a BCR of 5.5. This shows that the road is considered to be a high economic efficiency project, and in fact is well above the threshold limit for this category.
Whakatu is one of region’s key business and employment nodes. The improved transportation connections provided by the Whakatu Arterial Link will enhance productivity and growth
Intersections in the Whakatu area that are currently inefficient and present safety concerns will be significantly improved, including the intersections at Napier Road and State Highway 2, Pilcher Road and State Highway 2, Ruahapia Road and Pakowhai Road and Farndon Road and Pakowhai Road.
The current road network promotes the use of State Highway 2 as the primary freight route between Whakatu and the Port of Napier. This means that heavy commercial traffic is directed through residential areas. The Whakatu Arterial Link will provide a more efficient and safer alternative route utilising the Hawke’s Bay Expressway, and directing traffic away from residential areas.
The Whakatu Arterial Link will provide a more efficient route between Havelock North and the Napier/Hastings Airport and Napier’s north-western employment and residential areas using the Hawke’s Bay Expressway.
Total construction cost is estimated at $25.6 million. The Government funding share of this cost is $17.97 million, meaning that Hasting District Council share of the cost is $7.63 million. This represents a significant investment of national funding in Hawke’s Bay.
The Hastings District Council requires approvals under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) to construct the Whakatu Arterial Link. As part of that process, the environmental effects of the road have been assessed through a series of technical assessments, including ecological, noise, cultural, productive land use, natural hazards and archaeological effects. These effects must be appropriately managed in order for the RMA approvals to be given.
In June 2014 the Hastings District Council lodged a Notice of Requirement to construct, operate and maintain the Whakatu Arterial Link. The Notice of Requirement application was publicly notified under the Resource Management Act 1991 in July 2014. The commissioner has approved the designation required under the Notice of Requirement in May 2015.
Public tenders have been invited by the Hastings District Council and the tender was awarded to Higgins ltd. for the construction of the Whakatu arterial. Work has commenced on the five legged Roundabout at the State Highway end of the Arterial.
General sequence of the work could be as follows:
Work is expected to be completed by December 2018.
For more information about the Whakatu Arterial project, please contact the Hastings District Council, Asset Management Project Manager.
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