Tauranga-Waikato highway in Nats' plan

By APNZ

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National will re-commit spending to a $9 billion national roading investment that would include a proposed highway linking Tauranga with Waikato.

The investment would seek to open up key roading arteries around the country, Minister of Transport Stephen Joyce said yesterday.

"Our Roads of National Significance (RONS) programme is progressing well in our quest to reduce congestion and improve safety on our high-use highways around New Zealand," he said.

Mr Joyce said the roading investment programme would continue to open up a number of routes to improve important transport networks.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

"In the next three years we will be evaluating work on additional key high-use highways around the country. These include the highway linking the Waikato with Tauranga, SH1 Cambridge to Tirau, the Hawke's Bay Expressway, and SH1 North and South of Christchurch."

Mr Joyce says the new state highway classification system shows that these are the most important roads that need development.

"Alongside the RONS programme we are also making investments in key regional routes, like Caversham in Dunedin, and the Rimutaka Hill north of Wellington.

"In the next three years we will be looking for cost-effective opportunities to improve reliability and reduce journey times on key regional urban routes - like the Rotorua Eastern Arterial, and the Waiwakaiho Bridge in New Plymouth, and key inter-regional freight and transport routes that need work, like the Manawatu Gorge, and Mount Messenger in north Taranaki."

National's transport policy, released yesterday, also reiterated its major investment in rail, with National committed to its support of the $4.6 billion KiwiRail turnaround plan, and the completion of the network upgrades and new electric rolling stock for the regional commuter rail networks in Auckland and Wellington.

Maritime transport and civil aviation also feature in the policy announcement.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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