Residents warn of expressway noise

TERESA HATTAN
Last updated 05:00 13/03/2014
waikato expressway
Teresa Hattan/FAIRFAX NZ

CONCERNED: Tanya Clancy, on the Kainui Bridge overlooking the Ngaruawahia section of the Waikato Expressway, is a member of the ‘‘As a community – living with the Ngaruawahia Expressway’’ group.

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Some Taupiri and Kainui residents claim they have been hard done by the Ngaruawahia section of the Waikato Expressway.

They have formed a group, "As a community - living with the Ngaruawahia Expressway" as a way to show a united front.

Group spokesperson Tanya Clancy said its main concern was a lack of consultation by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), overseeing the Waikato Expressway project.

Ms Clancy said the group was "fighting their own fight" but wanted to warn those who were next going to be affected as work continues along the expressway route.

"Don't go through what we've gone through. Be cautious, ask the questions, don't take what they [NZTA] say as gospel. Demand regular meetings, don't let them put you off because they will do."

Ms Clancy said Taupiri residents were having "huge problems" with the effects of engine braking.

NZTA project services manager Peter Simcock said: "We have - upon the parties raising concern - had the noise volumes measured and the results indicate that noise levels are within the acceptable range and comply with our designation conditions.

"However, since the measurements were taken during a period of unexpected rain and wind we have decided to undertake a second round of monitoring."

Mr Simcock said engine braking was a specific type of noise caused by external factors the NZTA couldn't control. He said neither the council or the police could regulate as there was no bylaw to enforce.

But Ms Clancy said there had been side effects that people didn't expect or understand such as sleep deprivation.

"We've got people walking around with bags bigger than suitcases underneath their eyes because during the day they're coping with the noise but by night time . . ."

Ms Clancy said dairy farmers were also suffering. "They lose productive land. We've got two in our area that have lost water through drainage and no water whatsoever because the table has dropped."

She said the group was made up of 55 locals. But Mr Simcock said the NZTA was only aware of a "very limited" number of people who had expressed concerns. "We consult with those who will be directly or indirectly affected by the expressway construction at the investigation and planning stage and throughout the construction process where required."

He said there were various opportunities during the consenting and designation process where submissions could be made. A common issue that the NZTA faced was when land or property ownership changed between the designation process and the actual construction time.

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- Waikato Times

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