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SH Plan addresses West Coast challenges

Christchurch Regional Office
Media Release

30 June 2004

SH Plan addresses West Coast challenges

Improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists as well as motorists is one of the key features of Transit New Zealand’s 10-Year State Highway Plan 2004/05-2013/14 for the West Coast, released today.

Transit regional manager Robin Odams said road safety was a priority for Transit on the West Coast, and improving facilities on routes popular with cycle-tourists was an important aspect of the plan.

“Pedestrian and cycle facilities are under investigation on the Bullock Creek and Porarai River bridges near Punakaiki and on the Arahura and Taramahau bridges - all on SH6. A walking and cycling facility on SH6 at Fox Glacier is also proposed for design and construction in 2004/05.”

Mr Odams said Transit would spend at least $190 million maintaining and improving West Coast state highways over the next 10 years. Some of the projects outlined in the plan may be built faster and others added with additional funding anticipated from a share of the regional distribution funding resulting from the Government’s December 2003 funding package, ‘Investing in Growth’ raised through an increase in petrol tax.

“We plan to remove ‘out of context’ or ‘surprise’ sections on state highways, along with roadside hazards and also to provide a network of stock effluent disposal sites. We’re also going to consider options for improving constraints and safety risks associated with walking and cycling.”

Mr Odams said the design of safety improvements at Littleman Straight on SH6 and McKendries Corner on SH7 was already underway, and further safety improvements would be progressed in coming years. The Dawsons to Tindalls Creek Guardrail project will be constructed in 2004/05 and the Spring Creek Realignment project on SH7 is scheduled for investigation in 2004/05, with construction planned for 2006/07.

“Another key safety improvement will be the further implementation of a strategy for the provision of stock effluent disposal facilities that has been agreed with local authorities in the region. A disposal facility on SH6 at Hokitika has recently been completed, and a facility on SH73 at Jacksons will be designed in 2004/05, with construction planned for 2005/06. A facility is also being planned for either Reefton or Springs Junction, depending on stock movements.”

Mr Odams said the lack of alternative access to and through the West Coast meant both SH73 and SH6 were strategically of great importance to the West Coast economy.

“The state highway network forms the essential access backbone for land transport to and on the West Coast. Significant improvements to SH73 over recent years have greatly improved the route security on this strategic link,” Mr Odams said.

Mr Odams said other major improvements Transit was proposing over the next 10 years included investigation of options at the Gates of Haast on SH6 and investigation of options for a new bridge at Arahura to enhance the security of this route.

“The security of the Arahura River Bridge and its effects on the network is a major concern,” Mr Odams said. “We recognise the need to further investigate options and contingency plans for the river crossing and we have included this as a potential project with likelihood of investigation funding in the near future.”

Mr Odams noted traffic volumes on the West Coast are generally quite low. However, he said the state highway network was maintained to a high standard taking into account the requirements of tourist travel.

Consultation played an important role in the development of the plan within the context of the new Land Transport Management Act (passed in November 2003), said Mr Odams. All large project proposals have been reviewed to ensure integrated solutions that fitted with the West Coast local authority plans and that the benefits of the plans were sustainable.

For further information go to: www.transit.govt.nz
Detailed maps and timing of projects are listed by region.

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