The seven New Zealand roads upgraded to be safer

The Government is extending the number of roads being upgraded - as part of its $1.4 billion Safe Network Programme - by 3300km. 

It announced the extension on Thursday, and confirmed the completion of seven road safety projects in the greater Waikato region. 

The upgrades have focused on fixing dangerous corners, installing roadside and median safety barriers, shoulder widening and safety improvements for high-risk intersections. 

It also involves rumble strips, improving skid resistance, improving rail level crossing safety, and setting safe and "appropriate" speed limits. 

Transport Minister Phil Twyford made the announcement alongside Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Waikato. 

The ministers spoke at SH3 between Ohaupo and Te Awamutu, which is the site of one of seven completed projects in the region as part of the programme. 

"The new barriers installed on SH3 have been hit around 40 times, potentially preventing at least that many deaths and serious injuries," Twyford said. 

"When we first announced the programme, 870km of state highways were included, and now that has been extended to 3,300kms of state highways and local roads over the next three years."

Transport Minister Phil Twyford, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter in Waikato.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter in Waikato. Photo credit: Supplied

National's transport spokesperson Chris Bishop has pointed out that the seven completed road projects were announced before the Government was elected in late 2017. 

"They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so to watch Jacinda Ardern and Phil Twyford stand on SH3, between Ohaupo and Te Awamutu, and claim credit for seeing National's road safety initiatives through to the end was heart-warming."

The seven completed projects in the greater Waikato region are listed below. 

  • SH3 Awakino to Mt Messenger (stage 1 safety and resilience works completed)
  • SH1B Taupiri to Gordonton
  • SH23 Waitetuna to Raglan (stage 1 completed)
  • SH27/26/24
  • SH3 Ohaupo to Te Awamutu
  • SH3/SH37 to Te Kuiti
  • SH1 Bombay to Hampton Downs (stage 1 completed)

Bishop provided links to press releases when the projects were announced. The SH1B Taupiri to Gordonton project, for example, was announced by the former National-led Government in August 2017. 

"If Transport Minister Phil Twyford and his associate Julie Anne Genter are short of a few good ideas about what to do in transport, I'm happy to help them out," Bishop said. 

National's transport spokesperson Chris Bishop.
National's transport spokesperson Chris Bishop. Photo credit: Getty

Further state highway and local road projects are being investigated and will be considered for funding within the Safe Network Programme. A full list of the projects can be found here

The Government is currently seeking feedback on a 10-year road safety plan that includes prioritising road policing and enforcement, a new focus on work-related safety and improving the safety of vehicles entering the fleet.

Genter - who spearheaded the 'Road to Zero' plan - unveiled a consultation document last week seeking public feedback.

It adopts the Vision Zero approach, which originates from Sweden. It aims to achieve a system with no fatalities or serious injuries involving road traffic. 

Genter said the Government believes it is unacceptable for anyone to be killed or seriously injured on New Zealand roads.

Newshub. 

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