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MCRC - Protection of environment crucial during project

In his role as environmental manager for Fletcher Acciona – the company sub-contracted to extend the four-lane Northern Motorway (SH1) 18.5km from Johnstone’s Hill Tunnel to just north of the Warkworth township – Jonathan Green was introduced as the guest speaker at the July meeting of Mangawhai Combined Rebus Club. 

He began his address with some brief comments, personal and vocational. The project received approval in 2014 with the contract awarded in 2016 as a Private Public Partnership (PPP) between the NZ Transport Agency and Northern Express Group (NX2). While NX2 is responsible for financing, designing, constructing and maintaining the extension for up to 25 years, the motorway will remain a public asset. It will provide increased safety, more consistent travel time, improved freight connection to the Upper North Island, and support economic and population growth. 

To date the project has, and until completion, engaged the services of hundreds of staff, a wide scope of operators, and utilised many vehicles and machinery to undertake vegetation clearance, blasting and excavation, removal and relocation of soil and rock to mainly be used on various aspects of the overall project, placing of culverts, and diverting streams. Despite some challenges to date, Jonathan believes the project is tracking well. 

To give members a visual perspective of work to date, a number of on-screen images were shown and clearly illustrated the structural work including aerial views of the enormous scale and extent of the project. Jonathan’s commentary throughout the screening was both interesting and informative. 

Of particular interest was the key area of Jonathan’s role in the project, ensuring protection of the environment and the relationship of that in managing the survival of wildlife – geckos, bats, fish, snails, freshwater crayfish and mussels – that have to be located, tallied, rescued, and ultimately released to new settings.  Management of the sediment retention ponds and provision of clean water channels is critical and an ongoing part of this process. Environment issues also call for machinery/vehicles, on or off site, to be regularly cleaned as a precaution against kauri dieback. 

Want to know more about Mangawhai Combined Rebus Club?  Meets every third Thursday of the month at 2.00pm in the Senior Citizens’ Hall, Fagan Place, Mangawhai Heads.  Visitors welcome.  Contact Gaylene Lawrence 431 5617 or Beve Smith 431 5777 for more details.

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