Our roads vi­tal for sur­vival

South Taranaki Star - - YOUR RACE, YOUR PACE - RICHARD WIL­LIAMS

Wel­come to a new monthly col­umn from Richard Wil­liams, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Taranaki Cham­ber of Com­merce. He will fo­cus on is­sues that af­fect Taranaki busi­nesses, which means it could af­fect your job.

In late Septem­ber SH 3 was closed for four-anda-half days fol­low­ing the ini­tial slip on Sun­day, Septem­ber 18. The con­se­quences of that were not only in­con­ve­nient, but once again fo­cused our at­ten­tion on just how cru­cial that road is to our econ­omy.

It is our ‘‘um­bil­i­cal cord’’. You might think that is a bit dra­matic as it’s not a mat­ter of life or death, but the re­al­ity is for a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of busi­nesses in our re­gion, it can be the dif­fer­ence be­tween eco­nomic sur­vival and clo­sure.

We are all aware of the down­turn in diary and the en­ergy sec­tors, but there is so much more to Taranaki’s com­merce. The freight com­pa­nies play a big part, and we are fa­mil­iar with the sight of tankers and trucks tak­ing their loads in both di­rec­tions.

We are look­ing to at­tract more tourists to our re­gion to ex­pe­ri­ence our scenery, cul­ture and unique events.

Keep­ing a road closed is never an easy de­ci­sion, es­pe­cially when the de­tour adds con­sid­er­able time to driv­ers. How­ever, peo­ple’s safety is paramount and we can­not re-open a road be­fore it is safe to do so.

The New Zealand Trans­port Agency (NZTA) says it is do­ing ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to fully sta­bilise the slip and it is a pri­or­ity for com­ple­tion in 2017 but the re­al­ity is that in the last two weeks there have been four more slips re­sult­ing in short­term lane clo­sures, so a long-term con­tin­u­ous SH3 up­grade plan is needed.

Per­haps it is ap­pro­pri­ate to re-look at a Port Taranaki-Port Nel­son ‘‘Blue­bridge’’ as an al­ter­na­tive heavy goods and tourist route be­tween North and South Is­land.

It would link SH3 with SH6 and de­velop the NZ West Coast ‘‘Tas­man High­way’’.

Now that would be a tremen­dous boost to lo­cal economies along its route. We are an ad­vo­cate for Taranaki’s busi­ness com­mu­nity, and by ex­ten­sion, ev­ery com­mu­nity in Taranaki.

The lat­est slip on SH3 near Mokau blocked the road north for days.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.