19 Jun 2013

NZTA asked to expand Rotorua road

8:20 pm on 19 June 2013

The New Zealand Transport Agency has been asked to expand a road in Rotorua rather than laying a new major route on the east side of the city.

Hapu elders Paraone Pirika (front) and George Mutu on Owhata Road, where they suspect the Rotorua Eastern Arterial will go.

Hapu elders Paraone Pirika (front) and George Mutu in June on Owhata Road, close to the route for the proposed Rotorua Eastern Arterial highway. Photo: RNZ

The Rotorua Eastern Arterial will run from the airport close to the edge of Lake Rotorua towards the city. Three local hapu strongly oppose the plan.

Ngati Te Roro o te Rangi elder Paraone Pirika said they want the agency to expand the current route of Te Ngae Road, which is currently up to four lanes.

He said it could also build a new road for big trucks along a ridge behind the suburb of Lynmore.

Mr Pirika said the new plan will affect families in 12 homes, as well as requiring a lot of its land.

The Transport Agency says it has examined the idea of expanding the road but it is not viable, partly because it will affect 160 properties.

The agency said the idea of creating a new road for big trucks is also not possible, partly because it would environmentally impact the Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest, which is popular for its walking and mountain bike trails.