Four regional roading projects fast-tracked
Roading projects in Taranaki, the East Coast and Marlborough are going to be fast-tracked.
Prime Minister John Key announced today $115 million was being put into four projects and Transport Minister Simon Bridges provided the details.
They are the Awakino Tunnel and Mt Messenger bypasses in Taranaki, the Motu bridge replacement near Gisborne and the Opawa bridge replacement in Marlborough.
The Mt Messenger and Awakino bypasses are new projects. The other two were identified in the regional roading package announced two years ago.
Mr Bridges said the projects were going to be "accelerated" but didn't give completion dates.
He said the northern gateway into Taranaki was a key freight link with the Waikato and had become increasingly unsafe, prone to unpredictable travel times and periodic closures.
"Improving the safety and reliability of this road is a real priority for the government," he said.
The Motu bridge, the only one-lane bridge on SH2 between Gisborne and Opotiki, now required ongoing maintenance and when it was closed commuters had to travel for an extra two hours along SH5, he said.
"The new two-lane bridge will improve safety and provide more predictable and reliable travel times."
Mr Bridges said the existing Opawa bridge on SH1 in Marlborough was narrow and caused delays for heavy vehicles.
When the new bridge has been built, the old one will be used for cyclists and pedestrians.