Transport Minister Simon Bridges says work is ramping up on a $60 million investment programme to upgrade the alternate state highway route between Picton and Christchurch while the reconstruction of State Highway 1 through Kaikoura is underway.
”The Government’s investment in the alternate route includes a range of road improvements to make the route safer and more resilient,” Mr Bridges says.
“Several sections of the route have been widened and 36 kilometres of the route has been resealed or repaired to help the road cope with the increase in traffic, with a further 22 kilometres to be resealed before winter.
“Three new bailey bridges have also been installed alongside permanent one-way bridges at Upper Buller and Homestead Creek west of St Arnaud and Speargrass Creek allowing traffic to flow safely in both directions.” Mr Bridges says.
Speeds have been reduced in high risk areas, with a strong Police presence on the route to help manage driver behaviour and speeds.
“Traffic numbers on the route have increased by more than four times since the Kaikoura earthquake in November. The Government is focussed on making the route as safe and easy to use as possible,” Mr Bridges says.
Mr Bridges says on top of the improvements already made to the route, the NZ Transport Agency is now focussing on preparing the Lewis Pass route to safely cope with higher volumes of traffic this winter.
“While work is continuing at pace to restore State Highway 1 through Kaikoura between Picton and Christchurch, it’s vital we ensure that people can travel safely on the alternate route through Murchison and the Lewis Pass.”
Other measures to improve safety along the route include:A short range cell site is being installed at Boyle River in April to improve mobile phone coverage. Traffic signals have been installed on the one-lane Maruia Bridge to ensure travellers in both directions can cross safely. Six radars measuring traffic volume and speed have been installed along the route. The radars also differentiate between vehicle sizes and can determine how many cars or larger vehicles are travelling at any given time.
Webcams have been installed in the above areas along with Waipara and Blenheim. The images are used on social media to provide travel updates.
State Highway 1 along the Kaikoura Coast is expected to be open by the end of 2017. For more information go to: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/kaikoura-earthquake-response/
Transport Minister Simon Bridges has announced that the NZ Transport Agency is working to ensure significant improvements to a section of State Highway 1 between Whangarei and Port Marsden Highway are completed as quickly as possible, with construction planned to start by 2019.
Mr Bridges says 22km of state highway will be upgraded to four lanes, with the section between Oakleigh and Port Marsden Highway expected to be completed within 3 to 5 years, followed by an upgrade between Whangarei and Oakleigh, to be finished in 5 to 7 years. Timeframes are subject to investigations, consenting and purchases of the necessary property.
“The Government and the NZ Transport Agency recognise the importance of securing the safety and resilience of this key road corridor for the future prosperity of the Northland,” Mr Bridges says.
“Upgrading this section of highway to four lanes and separating traffic will significantly reduce the high number of fatal and serious injury crashes in the area, many of which involve drivers crossing the centre line and colliding with oncoming traffic. It will also provide a more reliable and resilient connection to the port.
“More than 3 million tonnes of freight is exported from Northport each year and improving the regions freight connections to key export markets will be a game changer for the wider Northland economy,” Mr Bridges says.
The improvements will also help support growth south of Whangarei where there are significant opportunities for industrial development and housing.
The Whangarei to Port Marsden Highway upgrade is expected to cost an estimated $400 to $500 million and is part of the wider corridor between Auckland and Whangarei.
“Ultimately we’re planning a significant upgrade of the highway all the way from Whangarei to Auckland which will include the completion of the Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance which will make journeys along this entire corridor safer and more efficient,” Mr Bridges says.
The Transport Agency will work with Iwi, local communities and key stakeholders as the project moves through the planning and construction phase.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges says transport infrastructure continues to be a priority in Northland as the region marked the start of two new transport projects and celebrated the completion of more today.
The Minister turned the sod for Whāngārei’s newest Urban Cycleway, the $6.6m Kamo Shared Path, a 6km path that will connect areas north of the city with the Whāngārei CBD, Tai Tokerau Auckland University Campus and links to key recreational areas such as Kensington Park.
“When it’s finished the Kamo Shared Path is expected to be used by 600 people a day. It will also benefit the wider Whāngārei and Northland economy making it easier for tourists to get around and access tourist destinations,” Mr Bridges says.
The sod was also turned to mark the start of the two new two-lane bridges at Matakohe.
Hardies Bridge and Anderson Bridge will be replaced with two-way structures as well as realigning the approach roads to the bridges to remove tight bends.
“This stretch of highway on the Twin Coast Discovery Route is the main route to Dargaville and provides access for visitors and businesses, so improving its layout will help improve Northland’s connections with the rest of New Zealand and help stimulate economic growth,” says Mr Bridges.
The Minister also celebrated the completion of two state highway projects.
State Highway 1 between Kensington Avenue and Manse Street in Whangarei, has been upgraded to remove bottlenecks and improve safety for those travelling through the city.
“It’s one of a suite of six projects worth $49 million to manage growing traffic numbers travelling in and around Whangarei, as well as strengthening the connection to Marsden Point port and oil refinery,” Mr Bridges says.
The Brynderwyn Hills Safer System Project is also complete. The $18 million project involved widening the existing road, removing tight corners and installing a median wire rope barrier.
“The Brynderwyns project has seen a significant investment in road safety to address the high crash rate in the area. This demonstrates the Government’s investment to reduce the high road toll in New Zealand,” Mr Bridges says.
Warkworth’s growing population will benefit from a new road connection which will give them an alternative route between key housing and employment areas.
The first stage of the Warkworth Western Collector is complete. The $6.4 million project has extended Mansel Drive, including a new road over the Mahurangi River, building a new intersection where the new section of Mansel Drive meets Falls Road and realigning Falls Road.
“This will create a strong new connection between the northern end of Warkworth and give people a second route to get between residential areas and jobs in the industrial and commercial areas further west and south,” Mr Bridges says.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges says new barriers along a section of State Highway 1 in the Auckland suburb of Ellerslie will help to reduce noise for those living near the motorway.
The NZ Transport Agency plans to begin construction of the sound barriers on its land adjacent to the motorway by the middle of this year.
“I’m confident that the installation of these noise barriers will significantly reduce the disturbance caused to residents by traffic noise from the motorway. They’re a good solution that will make a noticeable difference for them,” says Mr Bridges.
There are a number of further steps needed before the barriers can be installed including coordination with existing infrastructure, safety assessments, consenting, consultation with adjacent landowners, as well as detailed design.
“I’d particularly like to acknowledge the local MP, Hon Sam Lotu Iiga, who has advocated strongly for these noise barriers on behalf of his community,” Mr Bridges says.
A wider programme is also investigating how noise barriers can be used near other sections of urban motorways in Auckland where noise is impacting on neighbouring properties.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry today announced funding will be made available for tourism infrastructure and cultural events as part of the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan.
The Action Plan was launched at an event in Gisborne today and articulates the region’s economic development opportunities for the next five years, including a focus on tourism. Key areas for development include:Māori and cultural heritage tourism Eco-tourism, including initiatives at Te Wherowhero Lagoon East Coast tourism, such as the historic East Cape Lighthouse and Tokomaru Bay wharf Cycle tourism Further research into cruise ship tourism
“Tourism has the potential to be a key driver of growth and jobs in Tairāwhiti which is why the Government is keen to work with the region to co-invest in Tairāwhiti tourism opportunities,” says Mr Bridges.
“The region is currently developing initiatives to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the first meetings between James Cook, Tahitian navigator Tupaia and the tangata whenua of Aotearoa. The Government is willing to contribute up to $2 million alongside local Government,” Ms Barry says.
“This commemoration from October to December 2019 provides an excellent tourism opportunity and we look forward to supporting the region in acknowledging these significant encounters.”
“The Government has already committed $3.5 million towards the New Zealand-wide First Encounters 250 voyage through its major events fund and is planning a flotilla, including James Cook’s Endeavour replica, to visit Gisborne and the other landing sites as part of the commemorative programme,” Ms Barry says.
The Ministers also welcomed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Activate Tairāwhiti and Air New Zealand which sets out an agreement to combine resources to grow Gisborne’s tourism strategy and increase Air New Zealand’s Gisborne seat sales, maintaining flight services for local businesses and residents.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges has announced that the Government will work with local stakeholders to identify and prioritise transport initiatives to help boost economic growth in Gisborne.
The announcement was made at the release of the Tairāwhiti Economic Action Plan in Gisborne today.
“The Integrated Transport Priority Plan will provide an opportunity for the region to help shape the transport network and find solutions to meet the needs of local customers, businesses, such as the forestry sector, and tourists,” says Mr Bridges.
“Roads are a lifeline for the region’s community and there is a strong focus on getting products to market, especially through Eastland Port. Primary industries in general, and the forestry sector in particular, are significant contributors to the local economy. The priority plan will centre on their needs,” says Mr Bridges.
Led by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA), in conjunction with council, iwi and other stakeholders, the study will ensure that robust analysis of transport options results in a plan that can enable and support the region’s economic growth initiatives.
The Priority Plan will provide key stakeholders the opportunity to identify and analyse options across the transport network. It is scheduled to be completed by December 2017.
In the meantime, the Government will fund a $1.5 million package of tourism-related roading projects on the East Coast. These are projects that are able to get underway soon. These are:An upgrade of existing rest area facilities and the construction of up to five new facilities along the 320km State Highway 35, which stretches from Gisborne, around the East Coast and down to Opotiki. Funding to replace the Horoera Bridge leading to the historic East Cape Lighthouse. Funding for a 7km link between the State Highway 2 Rere Falls Heartland Ride and the Motu Great Ride.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges, Associate Primary Industries Minister Louise Upston and other Ministers are in Gisborne today for the release of the Tairāwhiti Economic Action Plan, highlighting the Government’s support for the region.
The plan has been developed by Tairāwhiti people for the community and represents a shared investment in the future. The plan’s development was led by the Tairāwhiti Action Plan Governance Group and is supported through the Government’s Regional Growth Programme.
It articulates opportunities identified by the region and represents their priorities for the next five years.
“Growing Tairāwhiti tourism to attract more visitors, upgrading state highways, improving digital connection, and growing skills so that businesses are better supported by the labour force are all actions identified by the region as needed in order to grow and thrive,” says Mr Bridges.
It is linked to, and has been launched alongside, the Tairāwhiti Māori Economic Development Report which focuses on a Māori economic perspective.
“The dual launch demonstrates the desire for a regional approach to economic development and to recognise that Māori have a critical role to play in boosting economic growth,” says Mr Bridges.
Tairāwhiti is a small economy underpinned by an export-focused agriculture sector.
“The East Coast has a comparative advantage and is internationally competitive in the primary sectors including forestry, beef and lamb, horticulture and viticulture,” Ms Upston says.
“25 per cent of regional GDP and 26 per cent of employment is in the primary sectors and through the Action Plan we will stimulate sustainable primary industry growth to create more jobs and improved environmental performance,” Ms Upston says.
Regional economic development is a key government priority and is supported by the Regional Growth Programme.
The programme is co-led by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, and the Ministry of Primary Industries, with other government agencies, to increase jobs, income and investment in regional New Zealand.
More information can be found at http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/regions-cities/regional-growth-programme/gisborne-tairawhiti
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith today announced $2 million funding for a wood-processing facility which uses automation and robotics to turn low-value pine trees into high-value wood products.
This is just one of the local initiatives announced at the release of the Tairāwhiti Economic Action Plan in Gisborne.
“Forestry is a major employer in the region and this funding accelerates research and development in this sector. This technology from Wood Engineering Technology Ltd ensures that even low value ‘pulp’ logs, or forestry blocks on remote sites, can become economically viable,” says Mr Bridges.
WET Gisborne Ltd, a joint venture between Wood Engineering Technology Ltd and the Eastland Community Trust, is building a $9 million prototype plant, where this technology is being developed.
It is expected that there will be three plants on the initial site creating 120 highly skilled jobs, and see potential opportunity in opening further plants in the more remote locations of Eastland.
“The processing plant is being partly funded through a Callaghan Innovation growth grant and demonstrates how innovative technology can improve productivity and profitability,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“Delivering commercialised technology to market is a core part of Callaghan Innovation’s mandate, so it is pleasing to see the Gisborne region benefitting directly from the government’s investment in research and development through growth grants.”
The Government will invest up to $1.7 million over five years into the mountain biking Crankworx Festival and Enduro World Series in Rotorua, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges has announced.
Crankworx, the world’s biggest mountain bike festival, will be held in Rotorua from 25 March to 2 April this year. It has previously been hosted in Whistler and the French Alps.
“Crankworx provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase the Bay of Plenty as one of the best mountain biking venues in the world, attracting the world’s best pro-athletes. This event is expected to inject millions into the Rotorua economy and lead to wider economic benefits for New Zealand economy as a whole,” Mr Bridges says.
The Government also invested $420,000 in the 2015 and 2016 Crankworx events. After a successful first and second year, it is expanding to a nine-day festival this year.
“The economic and tourism benefits this event brings to Rotorua and New Zealand are significant. In 2016, the festival contributed $8 million to the Rotorua economy and 6.1 million viewers watched the event on television and online,” Mr Bridges says.
Last year the event attracted 1300 international visitors and this year it’s expected to increase to around 1735, rising to more than 2000 by 2021.
“Continuing to invest in this event ensures it not only continues but also provides new initiatives, including marketing the event in Australia, the United States and Canada and bringing new international visitors to New Zealand during the shoulder season,” Mr Bridges.
“It will also allow the trade and expo show to expand to a wider variety of products and businesses.
“I would particularly like to acknowledge the local MP, Hon Todd McClay, for his ongoing advocacy and strong backing of this event for Rotorua.”
The Government’s investment comes from the Major Events Development Fund which supports major events that generate significant immediate and long-term benefits to New Zealand.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges today opened a new section of State Highway 3 north of Normanby that will improve both capacity and safety on a critically important route for the Taranaki region.
The $17.6 million project was identified as a priority in the 2012-2015 Regional Land Transport Programme for Taranaki.
It was also included in the Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Package which makes significant funding available to a number of regionally important State Highway projects.
“The local community has campaigned passionately for much-needed safety upgrades to this section of road which has a long history of serious accidents. I’m very pleased that the Government has been able to deliver these improvements, reducing the risk of crashes and making the route safer, more resilient, and more efficient for all road users,’ says Mr Bridges.
“State Highway 3 is a busy commuter and freight route, but the previous alignment included some sharp curves and an old overbridge that increased the risk for motorists travelling through the area. By removing the bridge and curves and widening the shoulders of the road we’ve made it a shorter, safer route.
“This project, alongside the $135 million being invested in the Mt Messenger and Awakino Tunnel bypass projects, also being delivered under the Accelerated Regional Roading Package, demonstrates the Government’s ongoing commitment to investing in Taranaki’s transport development and economic growth.
“I would also like to acknowledge the local MPs, Hon Chester Borrows and Jonathan Young, who have advocated strongly on behalf of the community for these important projects,” says Mr Bridges.