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The Government needs to listen to the safety concerns of North Canterbury residents following yet another crash on State Highway 1 in Woodend, Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey says.

“The Belfast to Pegasus motorway extension and Woodend Bypass was promised by National last year as part of the second generation of Roads of National Significance following the success of the Christchurch motorway projects, which are delivering safer journeys and shorter travel times.

“North Canterbury’s strong residential and industrial growth following the earthquakes has put further pressure on State Highway 1 between Belfast and Pegasus Town when it was already at breaking point.

“National’s announcement last year of a continuous four-lane highway with traffic from both directions separated and a Bypass at Woodend had been received by residents with relief.

“The Waimakariri community was devastated when the project was left out of the New Zealand Transport Agency’s 10-year plan following the coalition Government’s shift in focus onto Transport Minister Phil Twyford’s pet tram project in Auckland.

“Recently residents were shaken by a crash when a fuel tanker and truck collided at Woodend. Heavy vehicles, including freight, are travelling through Woodend, past the school and residents’ houses. Residents are frankly too scared to try cross over State Highway 1.

“We cannot wait any longer for a commitment to this important roading project.

“The Government needs to stop diverting billions of dollars from regional New Zealand. National had a carefully balanced plan which prioritised our regions and supported our cities.

“Residents have spoken out time and time again and have no appetite to be going through yet another round of safety consultations. How much more do they have to say when accidents like these are making headlines all the time?”

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