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The roads to recovery

The roads to recovery

NZ Truck & Driver News

 May 2020   
Key roading projects, overlooked in the Government's $12billion infrastructure spendup announced in January, need to be reinstated as part of the COVID-19 economic recovery package.

The Road Transport Forum says that the post-lockdown effort to get the country back up and running should include quickly scheduling the mothballed Petone-Grenada Link project in Wellington, Auckland's East-West Link (between Onehunga and Mt Wellington) and Selwyn to Timaru highway updates.

In response to a Government statement (on April 1) that it has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that could begin as soon as the construction industry returns to normal, the RTF has begun pushing for the inclusion of the three badly-needed roading projects.

Forum chief executive Nick Leggett says further investment in roads will be necessary "if we are going to build up our economy as quickly as possible – and these roads were missed out of the NZ Upgrade Programme.

"Exports and imports need to keep moving to ensure people are employed, when it looks like we will be unlikely to rely on tourism and foreign students to boost our economy for some time. 

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Key roading projects, overlooked in the Government's $12billion infrastructure spendup announced in January, need to be reinstated as part of the COVID-19 economic recovery package.
The Road Transport Forum says that the post-lockdown effort to get the country back up and running should include quickly scheduling the mothballed Petone-Grenada Link project in Wellington, Auckland's East-West Link (between Onehunga and Mt Wellington) and Selwyn to Timaru highway updates.
In response to a Government statement (on April 1) that it has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that could begin as soon as the construction industry returns to normal, the RTF has begun pushing for the inclusion of the three badly-needed roading projects.
Forum chief executive Nick Leggett says further investment in roads will be necessary "if we are going to build up our economy as quickly as possible – and these roads were missed out of the NZ Upgrade Programme.
"Exports and imports need to keep moving to ensure people are employed, when it looks like we will be unlikely to rely on tourism and foreign students to boost our economy for some time. 
"There has been some talk of local manufacturing, but that will take years to establish – and, even then, the NZ market is too small to make it viable, so people would have to be manufacturing for export as well as domestic supply. 
"With Transmission Gully nearing completion in the Wellington region, the Petone-Grenada link is a vital part of its success – linking freight on State Highway 1 with the regional industrial centre in the Hutt Valley. This was always planned to be open three years after Transmission Gully, because the existing SH58 is already struggling with the cross-traffic and there is a need to ease peak-time traffic on Ngauranga Gorge. This was also one of the roads listed as a priority in a Wellington Lifelines Group report into the impact of a natural disaster on Wellington's economy. 
"The East-West link in Auckland is necessary to ease congestion, with more than 7000 freight vehicles moving through Onehunga each day, causing gridlock.
"Economic analysis found the industrial area serviced by the East-West Link contributed more than $10bn to the national GDP. Auckland's large and growing population requires a roading network to support the easier movement of freight to support people's daily lives. At the end of the day, rail will never be a solution for these challenges.
"A four-lane highway between Selwyn and Timaru would connect people and freight between the food basket of South Canterbury and more populous markets to the north. 
"NZ must invest mindfully for the recovery period we have ahead. Infrastructure projects provide an immediate economic stimulus, but the Government needs to carefully select projects that build and sustain increased economic activity and reduce reliance on the Government itself as the longterm salvation. 
"Roading projects improve safety and allow us to play to our natural advantages as a food producer by making it easier to get our exports to market," Leggett says.  


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