Fund­ing boost for road­ing in North­land’s vi­tal ar­eas

Whangarei Report - - NEWS -

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.

PHOTO / FILE

Four-lan­ing State High­way 1 south of Whanga¯ rei is not in the plan.

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