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AA Backs Cosgrove On Styx Bridge Proposed Delay

Automobile Association Backs Cosgrove On Styx Bridge Proposed Delay

The AA has joined in the drive to lobby Transit New Zealand to reverse it’s proposal to put the brakes on plans to four lane the Styx Bridge in Redwood / Belfast.

Member of Parliament for Waimakariri, Clayton Cosgrove, said he was delighted to receive support from such a well respected authority on transport issues.

“Anyone that uses our roads on a regular basis will be well aware of the importance of this issue, but having the backing of the Automobile Association adds significant weight to calls for Transit New Zealand to reverse it’s proposal to delay the four laning of the Styx Bridge.”

The project to four lane Main North Road between already four-laned sections in Belfast and Redwood had previously been planned for construction later this year. However, in Transit New Zealand’s Draft 2003/04 State Highway Programme, it was proposed that the project be deferred for 10 years.

Mr Cosgrove has repeatedly met with Transport Minister, Hon Paul Swain, including a joint meeting with nine of the South Island’s mayors last month, to reinforce the message that Transit’s proposal does not make sense. He said the Minister had been receptive to the concerns expressed. Mr Cosgrove also organised and presented a petition to Transit NZ, in conjunction with the Christchurch City Council Shirley / Papanui Community Board, in March this year.

Now the AA Canterbury / West Coast District Council has added its voice to the call from the community for Transit NZ to reconsider its proposal.

AA District Council Chairman, Tom McBrearty, said for cost, congestion, and safety reasons, the proposal to delay this project is simply unacceptable.

“The Styx Bridge creates a bottleneck for the more than 25 000 vehicles that travel between Christchurch and North Canterbury every day. It is illogical to have traffic merging from four lanes to two and then back to four again.

“As well as the obvious safety concerns, delaying the four laning of the bridge does not make sense financially, as the money that’s been poured into developing the project thus far will likely end up needing to be re-spent in ten years time.”

Transit NZ’s State Highway Programme is expected to be released early next month, but Clayton Cosgrove said if sense doesn’t prevail this time, the fight certainly won’t be over.

“We don’t know what Transit’s decision will be. What we do know is that this four laning is an urgent requirement for residents both in Christchurch and greater North Canterbury, and it’s an issue that we will continue to fight for.”

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