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$460 million partnership to improve resilience and safety across Northland transport links

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The NZ Transport Agency has announced the details of an estimated $460 million programme of investment in Northland over the next three years to provide a reliable, resilient and safe transport system for the region.

Transport Agency Regional Director for Northland, Ernst Zöllner, says the funding will make a significant contribution to ensure the regions key roads remain a vital lifeline for local communities as well as protecting and growing the economic wellbeing of the entire region and the country.

“Key priorities include delivering improved travel times and reliability on the critical Whangarei to Auckland corridor as well as improved resilience and travel times for the Inland Freight Route from south of Whangarei to Kaikohe.”

“Improving alternative routes and bridges and more investment in preventative works that reduce the risk of slips and surface flooding will all improve the resilience of the region’s roads.”

“Another top priority is reducing deaths and serious injuries by improving and maintaining the segments of road that have the highest risks.”

The funding in Northland is part of a $13.9 billion investment in New Zealand’s transport system set out in the 2015-2018 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP).

The NLTP is a partnership between local authorities who invest funding on behalf of ratepayers and the NZ Transport Agency, which develops the programme funded from petrol taxes, road user charges and vehicle registration and licensing fees.
Mr Zöllner says the agency is aiming to make travel easier and more predictable for people, whether those trips are by car or motorcycle, on public transport, on foot, by bicycle or a combination of any of these modes. 

Highlights of the 2015-18 NLTP for Northland include:

  • 20% funding increase in local road operating and maintenance investment to a total of $191 million. Among other things this will enable councils to carry out localised dust mitigation measures on unsealed roads. The Transport Agency is also sponsoring a research project to understand the effects of dust, which will help councils make future funding decisions.
  • A conditional $5 million annual investment to maintain the Northland Inland Freight Route as a state highway to improve resilience and travel times. This shifts the costs of improvements and maintenance from ratepayers and frees up local authority funding.
  • $48 million to continue development of the Ara Tūhono - Pūhoi to Warkworth Road of National Significance, providing a safer, more reliable connection for people and freight between Auckland and Northland by extending the four-lane Northern Motorway (SH1) to Warkworth. The project is estimated to cut 17 minutes from journey times in peak periods.
  • $13 million to improve safety and resilience along State Highways in Northland, as well as further investments in the key connection between Northland and Auckland. This includes continued investment in the Akerama Improvements project, SH1 Loop Road improvements and work on the northern side of the Brynderwyn Hills.
  • An additional $4.8 million over the next three years to improve road safety. This is adding to the 26% increase in funding of $1.6 million in 2013/14. This will include improvements at high-risk crash areas to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries, road safety and education and the development of fatigue and rest stops for tourists and truck drivers.
  • Proposed funding for the upgrade of four one-lane bridges on state highways across the Far North. Four other bridges are within a reserved list and may be considered in future Regional and National Land Transport Plans.
  • Almost $6.5 million in joint investment between the Transport Agency and Northland Regional Council in public transport.
  • $5 million for cycling, including $2.9 million investment from the Urban Cycleway Fund to complete the Kamo Cycling Route and provide a safer connection for school children. This is the most significant cycling investment ever made in Northland.

Transport Agency Chief Executive Geoff Dangerfield says the investments made through the NLTP aim to be regionally responsive and nationally consistent, and the Transport Agency will continue to work closely with councils to deliver the programme over the next three years.

“The NLTP is a true partnership with local government, and the 2015-18 programme incorporates two key developments that lay the foundations for better transport investment and decision making.”

“Funding Assistance Rates (FAR) for local government activities have been reviewed and updated to provide funding assistance rates which better reflect the needs of  rural and provincial areas and to make the system fairer between different types of transport activities.”

“We’ve also worked with local government to establish the One Network Road Classification system, which establishes consistent, fit-for-purpose levels of service for all roads in every part of the country. This system enables consistent and fair investment decisions in partnership with local councils for the funding of road maintenance and renewals.”

To find out more information about the national and regional NLTP funding, documents and Q&As are available on the NZ Transport Agency website at www.nzta.govt.nz/nltp(external link)

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