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Urgent action needed on killer road

Urgent action needed on killer road

Government interference and a lack of funding means that much-needed improvements to State Highway 2 haven’t even been started, says National’s Transport spokesman, Maurice Williamson.

“This will mean more unnecessary carnage on our roads this Christmas.”

A plan to build a four-lane expressway from Pokeno, at the bottom of the Bombay Hills, to Mangatarata, just past the Thames turn-off, has been in development by Transit NZ since 1999.

More than 30 people have been killed on State Highway 2 in the past five years – a crash rate more than 40% higher than on other highways of this type.

“But, like so many other important developments, progress in upgrading the highway has been dogged by funding constraints and complex decision-making processes,” says Mr Williamson.

The first phase of the upgrade, a two-lane realignment with passing lanes at Mangatawhiri, was due to be funded in 2003 but was held up by a Government review of all roading projects exceeding $20 million. The project is now expected to start next year and will take four years to complete.

“Despite recent fuel tax rises and record Government surpluses, Labour continues to sit on its hands while unnecessary casualties mount up on our roads,” says Mr Williamson.

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