National Road Carriers Association has welcomed the road safety improvements announced for Northland but shares the disappointment of councils in the region that not more is being done
“The improvements to the SH 1 and SH 15 intersection just south of Whangarei can’t come soon enough,” says NRC CEO David Aitken.
“But like all the councils we would have liked to see more progress on the upgrade of state highway one to four lanes, particularly between Whangarei and the turn-off to Northport and Marsden Point.”
Aitken says that portion of the main highway already carried a lot of daily commuter traffic, which is only going to increase with the ramping up of the forestry industry and the export of more timber through Northport.
Representatives of the Whangarei District Council, Far North District Council, Kaipara District Council, Northland Regional Council and the Regional Transport Committee were recently told by the Transport Minister Phil Twyford that a four-lane highway was off the agenda.
They had met the minister in Wellington in an effort to keep the previous government’s announced plans on track.
Under the new government’s 10-year transport plan announced recently, more funding will go into rail and public transport and less into the upgrading of main highways.
Additional funding is being made available for improvements to regional roads.
Aitken says there had to be a commitment to make the main highway south of Whangarei safer for all road users, with more passing lanes and other infrastructure to handle the increasing amount of traffic.
“Hopefully funding allocated for regional roads will include funding for safety improvements on SH1 and other state highways in the region,” Aitken says.
The government has already announced the notoriously dangerous junction of SH1 and SH15 will be upgraded with a single lane roundabout and other work to improve safety.
National Road Carriers has been strongly advocating for this roundabout, but it needs to be two lanes, given the volume of traffic using the intersection.
National Road Carriers is the leading nationwide organisation representing companies involved in the road transport industry, with 1700 members who collectively operate 15,000 trucks throughout New Zealand.