Northland road safety campaigners have welcomed plans to bypass the Brynderwyns and four-lane State Highway One from Whangarei to Te Hana.
The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) announced last week that the Brynderwyn Hills may be bypassed by State Highway 1, but a tunnel under the hills has been ruled out because of cost.
Feedback is being sought on options for upgrading SH1, south of Whangarei, including bypassing the Brynderwyns and four-laning the highway to Te Hana.
Options include upgrading the existing road to a four-lane expressway, upgrading the existing highway for southbound traffic and building two new lanes to the west for northbound traffic, or building a new four-lane expressway either to the west or east of the existing highway. The proposed options for the wider route between Whangarei and Te Hana are predicted to save 280 lives over 30 years.
Two options for a bypass of the Brynderwyn Hills are also being looked at. A bypass will provide greater resilience, improved safety and will reduce the cost of travel, particularly for heavy vehicles using this section of SH1, NZTA says.
Gillian Archer, from RoadSafe Northland, said the proposals were great news from a road safety perspective, and would also boost the region's economy.
"It's part of a 30-year plan, but it's going to be great for Northland and road safety. Bypassing the Brynderwyns will save time and reduce the dangers of having to travel over that winding stretch of road. It will save lives,'' Ms Archer said.
She said it was important to note the route over the Brynderwyns would remain open for those wanting to take the scenic route.
"But basically anything that improves safety, and these plans certainly will provide huge road safety benefits, has got to be great for the region."
John Bain, chairman of the Northland Regional Transport Committee - made up of representatives from Northland's councils and NZTA - said the plans would be a boon for Northland.
"It will make that road much safer and will mean a lot for the likes of the trucking industry.''
Three public information days will be held this month to explain the shortlisted options, answer questions and give people an opportunity to provide their thoughts on the plans: at Kaiwaka Memorial Hall, from 3pm to 7pm today, Mata Hall, from 3pm to 7pm on Thursday and the i-Site at Whangarei Town Basin from 10am to 2pm on Saturday.