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Published: 2003-09-26 00:00:00

Environment Waikato wants to see alternatives, such as barging, used for heavy transport around the Waikato.

The Council heard that a feasibility study for barging aggregate to Kopu from the Matatoki Quarry would be considered at this month’s Transfund Board meeting. Cr Evan Penny said barging for forestry in the Coromandel would have to be looked at more carefully in future.

He had driven past four articulated logging trucks travelling in convoy with 26 cars held up behind them.

“The logistics of barging in the Coromandel are formidable. But if barging is not the answer then urgent consideration needs to be given to a bypass or other methods. These trucks are no longer required to pull off the road and logging traffic is increasing sharply in many areas.”

He said trucks travelling in convoy should be reported to the Police and Road Transport Association as the industry did not approve of it.

Regional Land Transport Chairman David Peart said discussions were being held on Transit’s plans for the western side of the Coromandel for crawler lanes and passing bays. The Forest Service had studied barging in the Coromandel but it was found not to cut traffic on local roads, and in fact increased it. A major issue was what happened on the coast for loading points.

Cr Jeanette Thomas said she was concerned that money was spent on roads and rail was subsidised when there was water everywhere.

Chairman Neil Clarke said the destination of logs was a significant factor and tidal movements in the Hauraki Gulf created problems. The Council would give every support to the feasibility of using barges.

“This is a major problem all over the country, particularly where there are small wood lots.”
Cr Angus Macdonald said that if rules were not brought in on where forest was planted there would be problems with harvesting.