Why the Woodend Bypass will likely be a toll road

Transport Minister Simeon Brown and Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey at the Pegasus roundabout on July...
Transport Minister Simeon Brown and Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey at the Pegasus roundabout on July 5. Photo: RNZ / Rachel Graham
Transport Minister Simeon Brown says the seven new roads of significance that are being fast-tracked may be tolled to help pay for them.

On Friday, it was announced NZTA expects to start procurement, and construction on the seven roads within the next three years.

The projects are Belfast to Pegasus (including the Woodend Bypass), the Hawke's Bay Expressway, SH1 Cambridge to Piarere, State Highway 29 Tauriko, Takitimu North Link Stage 2, Mill Road, and Warkworth to Wellsford.

Brown said the time frames for completion and final cost were not yet known, but NZTA would have more information by the end of September.

The government was open to the roads being tolled if NZTA recommended it, he said.

"We need to pay for the roads, and we need to raise the revenue to be able to pay for it. Tolling is a great way to bring forward that investment.

"So where NZTA recommends a toll, we will support tolling of that infrastructure to pay for it. It is a user-pays approach."

Brown made the announcement at the entry to the town of Pegasus on the outskirts of Christchurch.

A number of the projects, including the Belfast to Pegasus/Woodend Bypass, have already had a lot of work done on them before they were stopped by the Labour government, he said.

NZTA system design regional manager Richard Osborne said the first step for the Belfast to Pegasus project would be for them to dust off the scheme plans done 10 years ago and do a scope confirmation exercise.

They would be in touch with people impacted by the planned new road very soon, Osborne said.

The area around Pegasus had changed a lot in the past 10 years, with a number of new housing and commercial developments, so they would need to look at what changes were needed.

Woodend Bakery owner Serey Chum said the bypass would probably impact his business, but he was confident residents would continue to support them.

He was happy that a bypass would probably help avoid traffic jams and reduce accidents.

Woodend Store owner Krishna Barot also expected the change would impact on their business, which they only recently purchased.

But she said the project would probably be positive for residents who were having trouble with the traffic congestion.