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Transit draft plan released for consultation

31 January 2005

Transit draft plan released for consultation

Transit New Zealand today released its Manawatu/Wanganui region draft 2005/06 – 2014/15 10-year State Highway Plan for consultation. Transit is inviting submissions on the draft plan from all interested parties and the general public. Submissions will close on 16 March and the final plan will be issued at the same time as the Land Transport New Zealand funding allocations for 2005/06 are announced at the end of June.

Transit Wanganui regional manager Errol Christiansen said Transit had assigned priorities to projects and activities in line with the requirements of the Land Transport Management Act 2003 to ensure a safe, integrated, responsive and sustainable state highway network. “We have tried to ensure that where possible state highway activities are integrated with local roads, public transport and existing or planned cycling and walking facilities.”

The programme has been built around national indicative funding forecasts from Land Transport New Zealand and an estimated share of 70 percent of Manawatu/Wanganui “regional distribution funding” (the extra funding for land transport from the proposed increase in tax on petrol) going to state highways. The final share of regional distribution funding allocated to state highways will depend on the land transport priorities set by the region. He said the major features of the draft plan for Manawatu/Wanganui were passing lanes, safety improvements in the next three years and several significant projects in the later part of the plan. “Recently we’ve constructed a number of new passing lanes in the region and this momentum will continue, with a further 10 passing lanes possible within the next three years, depending on funding levels. “Making the region’s state highways safer continues to be a particular focus and a number of safety improvements are planned for construction in the next three years. They are predominantly intersection improvements, bridge replacements and realignments. “In addition, Transit will also intends to construct stock effluent disposal facilities on SH4 in Taumarunui, SH2 at Woodville and on SH1 at Waiouru, in line with the North Island stock effluent disposal facilities strategy. Mr Christiansen said as well as continuing work on the Hihitahi Bluffs Realignment project, which got underway in October 2004, major projects planned for the region in the next 10 years included the Manawatu Hill Realignment, with an indicative construction start date of 2008/09, the Ohingaiti-Makohine Realignment programmed for construction from 2010/11, and the Papatawa Realignment and Foxton South Curves projects, which could get underway in 2011/12 and 2012/13, respectively. Major state highway projects are programmed over 10 years while smaller activities under $3 million are set out over three years. Mr Christiansen said it was important to remember that the plan is it stands is a draft, and its final format would be shaped by the submissions Transit received. “We look forward to getting feedback on what interested parties and members of the community think of the plan.”

Background information

This is the first year under the Land Transport Management Act 2003 in which Transit must consult more widely than in the past on its state highway plan. Transit has always consulted with local authorities, other government transport agencies and key organisations such as Police, Automobile Association, the Road Transport Forum, the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and DoC, but this year it is aiming to attract feedback from land transport providers, affected communities, Maori and the general public. Under the Act Transit must also now consult with ACC and the Ministry of Health,

Written submissions will be accepted up to 16 March 2005 and submitters, if they wish, have the opportunity to present their information to a hearing panel during March and April. Submission forms are in each information sheet and are available at the sites below.

Copies of the full plan covering the whole of New Zealand will be available to view at libraries and local council offices, and information sheets with a submission form, on the Manawatu/Wanganui region plan is also available at the same outlets to take away. The regional material and the national plan is also available on Transit’s website: www.transit.govt.nz

ENDS

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