23 Apr 2012

Questions raised over highway extension

8:58 am on 23 April 2012

Questions are being raised about whether an extension to State Highway 1 is needed after a group of century-old trees was felled in Whangarei.

The Transport Agency was granted consent to cut down the 11 trees, both native and exotic, at Mander Park on Western Hills Drive during the weekend.

Protesters gathered at the park to try to stop the trees coming down, saying they are against the expansion of the road into the park because the land was gifted to the city in 1906.

One protester, James Bellamy, says data from the Transport Agency shows the number of vehicles travelling on the highway has dropped in the past decade so the extension is not needed.

The agency says it is expanding now to cater for future growth, and it won't need to do any more work for decades.

A closed meeting was being held on Monday between the mayor, Morris Cutforth, the Transport Agency and some of the protesters.