Repairs to State Highway 4 Paraparas should be part of the Covid-19 economic recovery package, AA Whanganui chairman John Unsworth says.

The Paraparas still has slip damage from the 2015 flooding and the AA Whanganui District wants the work included on the Government's list of infrastructure projects pushed forward to help stimulate the economy in the wake of the pandemic.

Unsworth said it was "hugely disappointing" that parts of SH4 are still waiting for repair nearly five years on from the flood.

Seventy per cent of Whanganui respondents to an AA survey want more investment in road maintenance. Photo / Bevan Conley
Seventy per cent of Whanganui respondents to an AA survey want more investment in road maintenance. Photo / Bevan Conley

"NZTA's quick response to the major slip on the Paraparas late in 2019 shows a fix can be done if there is the will to act," Unsworth said.

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"This is a key economic route for local and regional road users, and its current state suggests that provincial New Zealand has not had the transport investment it deserves.

"Now is the opportunity to put that right."

A survey of AA members throughout New Zealand found that road maintenance and improvement was the major transport area where respondents wanted more Government investment. About 70 per cent of Whanganui respondents said the quality of the road surface and wasting money through repeat work were their greatest concerns around road maintenance.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

"The AA has been increasingly concerned about road maintenance not being kept up to standard in recent years and the Government cannot afford to miss the opportunity now to deliver long-needed transport improvements in the Whanganui region," Unsworth said.

"The recovery from the current crisis gives us the chance to take a big step forward in the safety and quality of roads right around the country."

The Whanganui and Manawatu AA districts also want upgrades to SH1 at Ohakea air base to be part of the virus response.

With more Royal New Zealand Air Force vehicles about to start operating out of Ohakea, the amount of traffic using the highway to access the base is increasing. Until now, the plans for dealing with this have been to close the passing lane and reduce the speed limit, Unsworth said.

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"There is no way we should be compromising our main highway – literally New Zealand's number one road for moving people and freight – when we don't have to.

"Instead of downgrading the highway at Ohakea the current situation has opened the door for the Government to invest in doing the job properly, rather than taking cheap short-cuts.

"The AA is calling for a plan to safely handle increased traffic in and out of the base while still keeping our main highway up to the standards it should be. It doesn't have to be one or the other – we can have both."

At a national level the AA has called on the Government to super-charge investment in key areas of road safety and maintenance.