A Kaipara woman who has been campaigning for years to have the road realigned past Matakohe's two single-lane bridges is delighted the Government has announced the stretch of road will be sorted out - but is sceptical about the timing of the announcement.
Sue Reyland last week presented a petition with 1500 signatures to Northland Regional Council's Draft Regional Land Transport Plan asking for the stretch of State Highway 12 through Andersons and Hardies bridges to be realigned and the bridges double-laned.
This week, she unexpectedly got her wish when the Government announced it would fix 10 bridges in the Northland electorate by double-laning them, including the two at Matakohe.
It was an unprecedented $32 million-$69 million policy announcement during a byelection, with Prime Minister John Key unable to recall another time his Government had released such a major policy during a byelection.
It drew accusations of being a bribe from opponents saying National is worried that NZ First Leader and byelection candidate Winston Peters was at risk of preventing National's rookie candidate, Mark Osborne, from winning the March 28 Northland byelection.
Ms Reyland says she shares some of that scepticism, but is just delighted the bridges will finally be fixed. However, she said it was crucial the bridges were not just widened without the road being realigned.
"They are using this to help them in the byelection and I'm sure they will get votes from around here, but I just feel so good it's got to this stage." Ms Reyland did not expect action so fast and thinks the Government may have been planing the work but had brought the announcement forward to help its candidate.
"It's been on the agenda several times and they've bought the land to do the work. It's all a big game for the politicians, but if they realign that road and widen the bridges it will save lives."
Ms Reyland's campaign began in 2012 after she and her daughter, Krystal, were among three people seriously injured in a crash on Andersons Bridge. She described the road as "a death trap", with 18 corners on a short stretch of highway either side of the bridges and visibility problems due to mangroves and roadside trees.