First Roads of National Significance identified

  • Steven Joyce

The government has today announced the first seven Roads of National Significance, which have been singled out as essential routes that require priority treatment.

They are from north to south:

Roads of National Significance:

  • Puhoi to Wellsford - SH1
  • Completion of the Auckland Western Ring Route - SH20/16/18
  • Auckland Victoria Park bottleneck - SH1
  • Waikato Expressway - SH1
  • Tauranga Eastern Corridor - SH2
  • Wellington Northern Corridor (Levin to Wellington) - SH1
  • Christchurch motorway projects

 "These are seven of our most essential routes as a country, that require work to reduce congestion, improve safety and support economic growth," says Transport Minister Steven Joyce.

"The purpose of listing roads as "nationally significant" is to allow the government to have input into the development of the land transport programme and the National Infrastructure Plan from a nationwide perspective.

"These roads are already very important in their respective regions.  We want to signal to the NZ Transport Agency through the Government Policy Statement their significance to the country as a whole.

"All seven are the most urgent projects within, or adjacent to, our five largest population centres.

"The Auckland region holds two very important roading corridors - State Highway One through Auckland city, north to Wellsford and south through the Waikato (the Waikato Expressway) and the Auckland Western Wing Route.  The Waikato Expressway is crucially important for linking Auckland to the Waikato and points further south.

"The Tauranga Eastern Corridor has been singled out as crucial to supporting growth in the Bay of Plenty - one of New Zealand's fastest growing regions, and providing freight access from across the region to Tauranga".

"Work on State Highway One between Wellington and Levin, the major route in and out of the capital will come as long-awaited relief for the lower North Island.

"This part of State Highway One links the centres of Palmerston North, Wanganui and Levin with our capital city.

"The Christchurch Motorway projects will improve the southern and northern approaches to our second largest metropolitan area, and provide a western bypass that links points north and south of Christchurch with the International Airport."

Mr Joyce says he has asked NZ Transport Agency, as part of the revised government policy statement, to develop plans to substantially advance these roads over the next ten years, alongside other state highway projects in the National Land Transport Programme.

Some of these will develop into larger projects and may also be subject to other delivery mechanisms, including public private partnerships and two or three will be assessed for their capacity for tolling, to further accelerate them. 

These are potentially Puhoi to Warkworth, the Tauranga Eastern Motorway and Transmission Gully (if that option is progressed).

The latter two projects have already been mooted for possible tolling by their respective regional transport committees.

Mr Joyce says further details and any further Roads of National Significance will be considered as part of the National Infrastructure Plan later this year. 

Other State Highway projects will continue to be considered in the normal way as part of the National Land Transport Programme.