Funding boost for roading in Northland’s vital areas
Northland's Regional Transport Committee chairman has welcomed the Government putting up $460 million for the region's transport network over the next three years, but there's disappointment that four-laning State Highway 1 south of Whanga¯rei is not in the plan.
Transport Committee chairman John Bain is hopeful that the “vital” four-laning of SH1, first to Port Marsden Highway (SH15) then to Kaiwaka, will be funded in a later tranche of transport spending.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford has announced $460m of investment in Northland's transport network over the next three years.
He said the funding was about improving safety, building stronger links to keep communities connected and supporting economic opportunities.
The spending is detailed in the 2018/21 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP), published on Friday by the NZ Transport Agency, in which a record $16.9 billion will be spent on the country's transport system over the period.
Northland's funding includes $194.774m on local road maintenance; $68.049m on regional improvements; $76.372m for state highway maintenance; $40.13m on state highway improvements; $47.831m on local road improvements; $13.3m on walking and cycling improvements; $9.977m on public transport and $6.51m on road safety promotion.
The NLTP will also provide funding for an investigation into the opportunities to carry more rail freight in the region and enable the completion of improvements to SH1 through Whanga¯ rei, improving safety and traffic flows through the city centre.
“Our investment in Northland through the NLTP will help create a land transport system that gives Northlanders better access to employment and education opportunities, supports the safe and reliable movement of freight and strengthens the resilience of important corridors to support tourism and keep communities connected,” Twyford said.
“Safety is a top priority for the Government. $108m will be invested in programmes and projects in Northland that will help save lives and reduce the number of serious injuries. Funding through the NLTP will also enable an investigation to be carried out into pedestrian safety improvements in Whanga¯ rei, and a programme of cycle skills education will be delivered in schools.
“Northland's popularity as a tourist destination will be boosted by investment through the NLTP and the Provincial Growth Fund, to develop the Twin Coast Discovery Route connecting the East and West coasts.
“Walking and cycling amenities will also be developed to further boost regional tourism and promote healthier communities. Positive results are already being seen on the completed sections of the Onerahi Shared Path in Whanga¯rei. The NLTP will support the delivery of sections of the Kamo and Raumanga routes to encourage people to use active travel options in preference to their cars.”
He said there will be renewed work to support safe and efficient freight movements to and from Northport at Marsden Pt.
But Bain said four-laning SH1 first to the port turnoff then to Kaiwaka were vital safety measures.
“We're extremely pleased to see so much is being spent on transport in the region over the next three years. But there's disappointment that the fourlaning of SH1 is not included in it,” he said.
“We're still waiting to see if there will be another tranche of funding available for projects that will give greater safety, such as the four-laning.”
Over 10 years from 2006 to 2015 on SH1 between Toetoe Rd and the SH15A roundabout there have been 18 crashes, which led to 17 deaths. There have been 24 serious crashes leaving 35 people seriously injured and during the same period there have been 51 minor injury crashes, injuring 141 people.
The numbers do not include fatalities from 2016 to this year.
Four-laning State Highway 1 south of Whanga¯ rei is not in the plan.