Funding boost for rural roads

The Government has announced a funding boost aimed at preventing deaths and serious injuries on rural New Zealand roads.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said the extension of the Government's Safety Boost Programme will see $20 million invested to upgrade 670 kilometres of rural state highways across Gisborne and Hawke's Bay, Manawatu-Wanganui and the West Coast this year.

"The Boost Programme will target 11 state highways that might not have high levels of traffic but still have plenty of risks like sharp corners and narrow stretches," she said.

"It includes simple safety upgrades that can be installed quickly over the summer period, such as rumble strips roadside safety barriers in high-risk locations, shoulder widening, and improved signage," said Ms Genter.

She said safety improvements like these can stop simple mistakes turning into tragedies.

Julie Anne Genter is hoping the safety improvements will help prevent road deaths.
Julie Anne Genter is hoping the safety improvements will help prevent road deaths. Photo credit: Newshub


"Rumble strips can reduce fatal run-off-road crashes by up to 42 percent, while shoulder widening at high risk sights can reduce serious crashes by up to 35 percent."

The original Safety Boost Programme made similar improvements in Northland, Taranaki, Manawatū-Wanganui, Otago and Southland. 

Ms Genter said it delivered almost 2000kms of rumble strips, 30km of road safety barriers in higher risk areas, and intersection speed zones at high-risk rural intersections.

This summer's Safety Boost is part of the $1.4 billion Safe Network Programme (SNP) - a programme of proven safety improvements on high risk routes across New Zealand. 

The 670 kilometres of road upgrades in the Boost Programme is additional to the 870 kilometres of upgrades to high volume, high-risk State Highways in the SNP.