The Government has launched the Tai Poutini West Coast Economic Development Action Plan, an $18.5 million package of transport projects for the West Coast to help improve the region’s transport network.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges says the West Coast’s distance from the main employment and business centres in the South Island and wider New Zealand means it is very dependent on safe and reliable transport links.
“The road network is particularly important for business connections and freight flows. That’s why we’re announcing a package of initiatives to improve safety and resilience of the region’s roads.”
One of the last single-lane bridges in the region, Ahaura Bridge on State Highway 7 between Greymouth and Springs Junction, will be replaced with a new two-lane bridge at a cost of up to $15 million.
Single-lane Stony Creek Bridge, which is expected to cost $3.5 million, will also be replaced, with a detailed business case for the replacement getting underway in the next year.
“Good progress is being made on the new two-lane road bridge over the Taramakau River. Completion of this long-awaited bridge at the end of next year will significantly improve safety, travel times and the journey experience for everyone,” Bridges says.
“It will provide an important connection for freight through to Canterbury and Otago, and separate road, rail and cycling/pedestrian traffic, making it safer for all travellers. These improved cycle links will help grow the tourism opportunities that are developing along the West Coast, such as the Wilderness Trail.”
Construction of the two new bridges being built on SH7, between Greymouth and Reefton, will help strengthen the network and provide even better connections.
The Government has already committed to spending $3.5 million in the next year for more no-passing lines and keep-left arrows, improving signage and installing safety barriers along SH6 and SH73, as part of its programme to improve safety for visiting drivers.
“Our investment is focused on road resilience and safer visitor routes. The New Zealand Transport Agency will work with local authorities and the Regional Transport Committee to keep improving the West Coast network to support the region’s economic prosperity,” Bridges says.