Government promises transport infrastructure upgrades

5 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJanuary 29, 2020

It must be an election year, with the Government announcing a programme of new investments in roads and rail it says will help future-proof the economy, get our cities moving, and make our roads safer.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford says these important projects will speed up travel times, ease congestion and make our roads safer by taking trucks off them and moving more freight to rail.

“The New Zealand Upgrade Programme reflects the Government‘s balanced transport policy with $6.8 billion being invested across road, rail, public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure across New Zealand.”

Twyford says the programme brings forward and funds significant projects, allowing them to be built sooner.

“We must look to the future as we design this critical infrastructure. The projects have also been redesigned and future-proofed to include provision for public transport and walking and cycling.

“Our decision to fund these projects by taking advantage of historically low long-term interest rates means this programme will free up funding in the National Land Transport Fund and Auckland transport budgets.”

Roading projects

Twyford says the package of road investments will reduce congestion and travel times, support businesses and open up new areas for housing developments.

  • Upgrading SH1 Whangarei to Port Marsden to four lanes will improve freight connectivity and improve productivity in the North.

  • Penlink will open up more growth north of Auckland and connect Whangaparoa residents to the successful northern busway.

  • Upgrading Mill Road to four lanes and connecting Manukau to Drury will ease traffic on SH1 and connect growing parts of Auckland with job-rich centres. 

  • Widening SH1 from Papakura to Drury and building a cycleway alongside it will get commuters to work faster.

  • Building a roundabout at the intersection of SH1/SH29 will improve safety at one of New Zealand‘s most dangerous intersections. This is on the route that future-proofs the extension of the Waikato Expressway from Cambridge to Piarere.

  • A four-lane Tauranga Northern Link and upgrades on SH2 to Omokoroa will improve safety on a dangerous stretch of highway and unlock more housing developments in New Zealand‘s fastest growing city and important trading port.

  • Four-laning SH1 from Otaki to North of Levin will improve travel times and safety and boost the Horowhenua economy and its connection to Wellington and the region.

  • The second stage of SH58 safety improvements will make a key route in Greater Wellington safer and more reliable. Stage one started in late 2019.

  • The Melling interchange project will reduce the risk of flooding, help ease congestion during peak times, and the railway realignment will improve reliability and give more ‘park and ride‘ options.

  • The Christchurch package will speed up public transport in the high-growth south west of the city, improve safety in rural towns in the region and boost economic development with a more reliable route for freight to Lyttelton Port.

  • The Queenstown transport package will greatly improve public transport into the town centre on SH6A, ease congestion on SH6 and support continued tourism growth.

Rail

A package of targeted rail investments will get trucks off the road and improve passenger train services, particularly at busy travel times.

  • Completing the third main rail line (an additional track on the double-tracked line between north of Otahuhu and Wiri) will remove a key bottleneck for freight and passenger services, as well as provide additional capacity for the increased services once the City Rail Link is completed.

  • Electrifying the railway track between Papakura to Pukekohe will speed up trips to the CBD. The addition of two new platforms at Pukekohe station will allow additional lines for future growth. 

  • Two new railway stations in Drury Central and Drury West, along with ‘park and ride‘ facilities.

  • Wellington rail upgrades, including in the Wairarapa, will make the lines north of the city more reliable and better able to meet growing demand.

The Government is also planning a shared path over the Auckland Harbour Bridge that it sees as becoming a tourist attraction. Seapath will connect to the shared path over the Harbour Bridge and provide a fully separated, safe path for Aucklanders from Takapuna and Northcote to the city.