Roads of Regional Significance projects revealed

Rolleston. Photo: File image
Rolleston. Photo: File image
The Government's roads of regional significance plan to speed up the building of new state highways includes three projects in Canterbury.

Transport Minister Simeon Brown said the Government is completing the delivery and procurement of a Canterbury rural intersections package; a Rolleston upgrade; and a Halswell upgrade.

It has also announced two more roads of national significance - at Takatimu in Southland, and between Otaki and Levin in Horowhenua.

In Auckland on Monday, Brown said all decisions around the scope and delivery of the projects has been delegated to the NZ Transport Agency.

“The Roads of National Significance built by the previous National Government are some of New Zealand’s most successful state highway corridors, reducing congestion and improving safety," he said.

“Expanding this programme to roads that are regionally significant will ensure that our cities and regions are well-connected, and our economy thrives.

“Similar to RoNS, Roads of Regional Significance will single out essential routes that require prioritisation.

“Roads of National Significance and Roads of Regional Significance will replace the NZ Upgrade Programme (NZUP) which was severely mismanaged by the previous government. NZUP was subject to significant cost blowouts that resulted in project cancellations and delays across the country.

“When we came to government, we were advised that there would be a significant funding gap of up to $1.5 billion to deliver the NZUP projects. This is in addition to the cost increases which resulted in major project cancellations under the previous government, such as Mill Road,” Mr Brown says.

He said all decision-making responsibilities around project scope and delivery will be made by NZTA.

“We are therefore changing how decisions are made on these projects and NZTA will be progressing with two RoNS and ten RoRS.

"Two further projects will now be incorporated into the Mill Road and Whangarei to Port Marsden Roads of National Significance listed in the draft Government Policy Statement on land transport 2024.

“In order to continue to deliver these projects, difficult decisions were made to keep costs within the existing $6.54 billion funding.

"We have made clear to NZTA that it must deliver these projects within the existing funding envelope, as there will be no additional Crown funding,” Mr Brown says.

Image: Simeon Brown Minister of Transport
Image: Simeon Brown Minister of Transport
The regional projects announced are: Penlink, Waihoehoe Road, State Highway 1 Papakura to Drury, the State Highway 1 and 29 intersection, State Highway 58 improvements, Melling, a Queenstown package and the three Canterbury packages.