In April, the National government’s proposed new four-lane highway from Whangarei to Wellsford was off the government agenda with the announcement of the GPS.
A delegation of senior Northland roading and local government representatives met the Minister of Transport Phil Twyford in the beehive to show how important such a highway was to the region. The meeting didn’t go as planned.
After 90-minutes in the minister's office, Twyford told the hopeful that he couldn’t promise a four-lane highway under the Government's priorities.
However, a four-lane highway from Whangarei to Wellsford is back on the table after concerns the vital roadworks had been canned.
The revelation came about during a meeting between Northland council members and NZTA officials assessing the safety of the road. It was revealed during this that the option for a four-lane highway was not yet off the cards and was being seriously considered.
Median and roadside barriers with wider centre lines have been offered as possible safety solutions for SH1 south of Whangarei. Senior roading advocates are adamant the only way to save lives on the deadly stretch is to build a four-lane highway.
NZTA statistics show that 36 people have been killed on the 70km stretch of road between Whangarei and Te Hana over the last 10 years.
Bill Shepherd, chairman of Northland Regional Council, was over the moon that the four-lane project was back on the table."The community and industry are saying we have to have four-lanes for the growth of the Northland economy. So, getting a four-lane highway ticks all the boxes government wants which are resilience, safety and economic development of the region," Shepherd said.