National will upgrade the Napier to Taupo Road

The next National-led government will fast-track safety improvements on the dangerous Napier-Taupō road (SH5), National’s Transport spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

Mr Bishop announced National’s commitment alongside Tukituki MP Lawrence Yule and National’s Napier candidate Katie Nimon on SH5 this morning.

“The road urgently needs an upgrade and National will deliver,” Mr Bishop says.

“The Government claims to have made road safety one of its top priorities but says there is no money for major capital works between Napier and Taupō. That’s not good enough.”

The Napier-Taupō road has claimed eight lives in the past year. The road has seen 321 crashes since the start of 2016.

It is the only highway link between the central North Island and Hawke’s Bay region, making it particularly important for freight, including access to the Port of Napier, as well as tourism.

“The road was recently described as ‘so patched up it looks like a patchwork quilt’ by the Road Transport Forum and there is huge public support for an upgrade but Labour has no plan and no funding to address the deficiencies,” Mr Bishop says.

“National will order NZTA to improve the surface and seal of the road, and fix dangerous potholes. This is sensible, shovel-ready work that can get underway quickly, creating jobs and improving safety.

“We will also get the ball rolling on work to address major safety issues. Over the next few years, users of the roads can expect to see retrofitted median and roadside barriers, re-engineered and straightened dangerous corners, new passing lanes, widened shoulders, and a greater number of safe turning opportunities.”

National will investigate realignments at Tarawera Hill, Kowaro-Te Haroto, Te Haroto-Windy gap, the Te Pohue curve and the Te Pohue golf course-Mistletoe deviation.

National will also upgrade the Napier to Wairoa section of State Highway 2 where there were 21 deaths and 56 serious injuries between 2005 and 2015. The road needs more safety barriers, seal widening and improvements to its surface to reduce the risk of head-on crashes, Mr Bishop says.

National will also urgently four-lane the Hawke’s Bay Expressway between the Links Rd roundabout and Meeanee Rd overbridge.

“This significant investment will save lives, bolster regional growth and improve journeys, particularly for truck drivers and tourists travelling in the Hawke’s Bay,” Mr Bishop says.

National has budgeted $300 million for the improvements on the expressway, SH5 and SH2, which will be funded from our record $31 billion transport infrastructure investment package, over and above what the current government is spending.