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Comments wanted on draft SH Plan for Gisborne

31 January 2005

Comments wanted on draft SH Plan for Gisborne

Transit New Zealand today released its Gisborne 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 2005 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 spokesperson Graham Taylor said Transit has 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.

The programme has been built around national indicative funding forecasts from Land Transport New Zealand and an estimated share of 50 percent of Gisborne “regional distribution funding” (the extra funding for land transport from the proposed increase in petrol tax) being allocated to state highways.

“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,” he said.

Mr Taylor said the projects in the draft plan for Gisborne were aimed at protecting and preserving the existing state highway asset, improving the security and efficiency of the transport corridors into and out of the Gisborne District, and improving road safety.

“Although the alignment of state highways in and around Gisborne is winding and hilly in many places, traffic volumes are relatively low and major improvements are difficult to justify. However, the draft includes two large projects planned for construction within the next 10 years – the SH35 North Tolaga Seal Widening and the Tolaga Bay to Gisborne Seal Widening

Road safety is an important aspect of Transit’s management of Gisborne highways and a series of small to medium-sized projects to remove out-of-context sections of road have been identified. How many can be undertaken in the next three years is dependent on the extent of regional development funding, but the possible projects include: SH2 Dymock Road Curve; SH2 Curve north of Kaiteretahi Hill; SH35 Kemp Road Curves Upgrade; SH35 Kopuaroa No 3 Bridge Replacement; and SH35 Karakatuwhero Bridge Safety Improvement.

Large activities (costing more than $3M) are planned over 10-years while small and medium-sized projects of less than $3M are planned over three years. The draft plan also sets out Transit’s priorities for maintenance, which accounts for about half of Transit’s budget nationwide.

“Carefully targeting maintenance activities to the specific needs of the region is the key to ensuring current and future levels of service are maintained. Transit proposes to carry out more pavement reconstruction in the Gisborne region than in previous years, widen seal to meet target seal widths when opportunities arise during maintenance activities, and continue to work on a risk analysis of subsidence sites, particularly on SH35,” Mr Taylor said.

With the significant annual growth in heavy vehicles (6.9 percent compared to 3.5 per cent for all traffic) and the subsequent wear on the highways, plus increased costs in the construction and maintenance sector, an additional $20 million a year nationally over the 10 years has been provided for maintenance.

“The final shape of the State Highway Plan for the Gisborne region for 05/06 and beyond now depends upon the response to this draft plan. We look forward to receiving submissions,” said Mr Taylor.

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 Gisborne 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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