National announce $10.5 billion roading plan
The Manawatu Gorge is one of 10 major roading upgrades that form a new multibillion dollar vision announced by the National Party.
The party's Roads of National Significance plan will invest $10.5 billion into roads across the country.
The Manawatu Gorge, which has been closed since April 2017 following major slips, was just one of the roads chosen in an announcement made by Transport Minister Simon Bridges on Sunday.
The ambitious plans were expected to cost about $10.5b - which is on top of an estimated $12b invested into the plan's initial seven roads.
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The nine other roads included in the proposal were:
* Wellsford to Whangarei
* Auckland's East-West link
* Cambridge to Tirau
* Piarere to the foot of the Kaimai Range
* Tauranga to Katikati
* Napier to Hastings
* Levin to Sanson
* The Christchurch Northern Motorway, and Christchurch to Ashburton.
Bridges said National was committed to building the infrastructure and transport system that New Zealand needed in order to ensure ongoing economic success.
Initial funding would come from the infrastructure investment of $32.5b, announced in Budget 2017, he said.
The roading project would work to reduce congestion, improve safety and support economic growth.
The Manawatu Gorge was identified as being important for traffic and freight in the Lower North Island.
As part of the project, National would fund a permanent, long-term solution which would take into account affected communities.
The proposal for the Christchurch Northern Motorway would included a realignment of State Highway 1 to bypass Woodend and also include a third southbound lane on the Waimakariri bridge.
The four-lane highway link between Napier and Hastings was chosen to boost economic growth, and help employees and freight.
The roads were identified using the New Zealand Transport Agency's One Network Road Classification system.
Once the original projects were completed, new projects could come about - which would be funded by existing revenue sources.
"The completed Roads of National Significance are also our safest, with no road fatalities to date," Bridges said.
Some features of the Road of National Significance project included four-lane State Highways – which entails two lanes of traffic flow in each direction, wide lanes, sealed shoulders and high-quality signage.
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