New lanes to improve safety, support growth

  • Simon Bridges

The Transport Minister, Simon Bridges, says improvements to State Highway 35 north of Gisborne will make journeys safer, while supporting economic growth.

Mr Bridges joined representatives from the NZ Transport Agency and Gisborne District Council today at Panikau Hill, the site of one of two new passing opportunities that have been completed.

‘Passing opportunities’ include passing lanes, slow vehicle bays and designated safe areas for motorists to pull over.

The $1.5 million work was brought forward by the Crown as part of the Accelerated Regional Roading Package, which funds regional projects over and above the allocations of the National Land Transport Fund.

“We recognise that the East Coast deserves a safer transport lifeline, and one that supports local industry, especially forestry.

“These improvements will support economic growth in Gisborne while making State Highway 35 safer for everyone. People who rely on this route know that overtaking can be challenging due to the hilly terrain and winding curves, and these passing opportunities will be a real relief to them.

“This investment will enable the forestry sector to thrive while allowing motorists to make safe passing manoeuvres, reducing frustration and risk,” he says.

The improvements include a 1.5km long passing lane for southbound vehicles at Panikau Hill, and a 500 metre southbound passing lane at Wallis Hill.  This investment follows the recent $4 million investment in nine new passing opportunities on State highway 2 south of Gisborne, also with Crown funding.

Mr Bridges is visiting the region to talk to stakeholders and officials about the area’s transport needs.

His visit includes a tour of the roading network to observe first-hand the region’s transport system in action.