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River road floated as flood fix

Waipoua River. PHOTO/FILE

PAM GRAHAM

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A road proposed along the southern banks of the Waipoua River in Masterton could act as a bypass for trucks as well as providing flood protection.

The two-for-one idea hasn’t been priced up and isn’t on New Zealand Transport Agency’s [NZTA] list of things to do, but former Masterton District Councillor David Holmes is keen on it.

He outlined how it could work in a presentation to last week’s Masterton District Council meeting and wasn’t shot down, though Mayor Lyn Patterson disputed the extent of the flood risk.

The proposed road would run straight along the river from the fire station and go through to Railway Crescent.

Holmes said this was actually an old stock route, and there would still be room for a cycle track by the river.

The road could ultimately join up with Lincoln Road so traffic could carry on to the Ngaumutawa Rd bypass, he said.

He wanted to float the idea to generate public debate, and said some trucking operators he had already talked to liked the idea.

Holmes told the council the bypass would take all the trucks out of town and make the roads in Masterton safer.

If the road was raised, it could act as a stopbank, he said.

“It will allow more room for the river when in flood,” he said.

“Masterton badly needs a bypass. There is ample [roading] metal available nearby and this area I am talking about is mainly industrial.”

Patterson said the idea of the bypass by the river had been discussed previously by council, but it could not get New Zealand Transport Agency [NZTA] funding.

Patterson said if ratepayers were required to fund such a bypass, they would have to be consulted.

Holmes is on the Te Kauru Upper Ruamahanga River Floodplain Management Subcommittee but doesn’t know what is being planned for Masterton, as that is being handled by a group within the subcommittee.

The Times-Age understands the Te Kauru Upper Ruamahanga River Floodplain Management Subcommittee will consider information about the flood threat to Masterton at a meeting on October 15, and it will be made public after that.

The council is believed to see the flood risk as less than what Greater Wellington Regional Council believes it is.

Holmes said the relationship between GWRC and MDC was “very tense” at the moment and needed to be on a better footing.

The Kauru Upper Ruamahanga catchment includes the Upper Ruamahanga River, upstream of the Waiohine confluence, and its tributaries the Waipoua, Waingawa, Tauweru, Whangaehu and Kopuaranga Rivers.

In 2014, a flood plain map was released showing huge chunks of Masterton’s housing area would be affected by a one in 100-year flood of the Waipoua.

The affected area stretched from Akura Rd and upper Oxford St north of town to the Homebush wastewater treatment ponds, and Lees Pakaraka Rd in the south

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