National will deliver a suite of much-needed transport projects that will shorten journey times, improve safety, create jobs and support tourism in the deep south.
National’s Southern Transport Package includes a range of projects across Dunedin, Invercargill, Queenstown and the wider Southern region, totalling $140 million in new spending from our record $31 billion transport infrastructure investment nationwide.
National is also committed to delivering the Queenstown NZ Upgrade project announced earlier this year.
Transport spokesperson Chris Bishop made the announcement at Dunedin Railway Station today alongside Dunedin candidate Michael Woodhouse, Taieri candidate Liam Kernaghan, and Invercargill candidate Penny Simmonds.
“National is committed to investing in our regions, delivering high-quality and much needed transport projects that will save jobs, improve safety and increase economic opportunities.”
Safety improvements are at the core of National’s southern transport plans, Mr Bishop says.
Traffic on State Highway 1 between Mosgiel and Balclutha has increased approximately 13 per cent in the past four years. Between 2006 and 2015, 12 people were killed and 66 were seriously injured in crashes on this stretch of road.
“National will fund and fast-track work on this stretch of highway, including widening the road and shoulders where possible in high-risk sections, putting in flexible roadside safety barriers to stop drivers running off the road,” Mr Bishop says.
National will work with the Dunedin City Council and the Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board to investigate a heavy traffic bypass for Mosgiel.
Work will also begin immediately to deliver passing lanes and safety improvements on the road between Queenstown and Te Anau, a critical connector for tourists visiting the region. There were 209 crashes on this road between 2012 and 2018.
National will direct the NZ Transport Agency to work with the Southland District Council to put in place a systematic bridge upgrade programme over the next decade, with funding shared between NZTA and the council.
“There are 850 bridges in Southland, with 171 needing replacement within the next 12 years. Little funding has been allocated and planning needs to begin now,” Mr Bishop says.
National will fund and fast-track a replacement of the Beaumont Bridge, which provides an important link over the Clutha River on the road connecting Dunedin with Central Otago and onto Queenstown. The Orari Bridge in Geraldine will also be double-laned and upgraded.
Mr Bishop says National is also interested in exploring commuter rail between Dunedin and Mosgiel, which sees 30,000 vehicle movements per day. About 75 per cent of these are bound for Dunedin’s CBD.
National will provide $100,000 for a feasibility study. If the results are robust and warrant further investigation then National will fund up to $300,000 through NZTA for a limited trial of the service, working with KiwiRail to make it happen.
National will also provide support for a 15 kilometre cycle and walking trail between Dunedin and Mosgiel, allocating $10 million as an initial investment to ensure the full Dunedin Tunnels Trail is delivered over the next decade.
“A National Government will increase safety in the Southern region, improve resilience, and increase economic opportunities for locals,” Mr Bishop says.
“I can’t wait to deliver these projects in government. Where Labour talks, National delivers.”