Northland Mayors thrilled with latest multi-million dollar roading investment

6 Mar 2017, 9:40 AM

Friday's announcement by Transport Minister Simon Bridges of the construction of a four lane upgrade to State Highway One between Whangārei and Port Marsden Highway, an investment of $400 to $500 million over the next five to seven years, has been universally welcomed by Northland Mayors.

Northland Regional Council Chairman, Bill Shepherd, who also Chairs the Regional Mayoral Forum is thrilled, saying, "It's such exciting news. This is the biggest shot in the arm for economic development in the Northland region in recent times."

Chairman Shepherd says, the Mayoral Forum, which includes Mayors from Whangārei, Far North and Kaipara Districts, as well as Northland Regional Council, has been working really hard to raise the need for central government to invest in Northland infrastructure to enable further investment and growth of the economy and prosperity of Northland.

He says, "More and more we are finding when we speak with one voice, great things happen for Northland. This latest development is a testament that a joined-up approach can achieve better outcomes for our region as a whole."

Chair of the Regional Transport Committee, Clr John Bain says, "the four lane upgrade will provide a safer journey for commuters and visitors to Northland, it will also provide a more resilient roading corridor for freight and other heavy traffic travelling on State Highway One. Getting goods safely and efficiently to and from Northport is a key piece of infrastructure for our region and I'm thrilled at the prospect that construction on the Oakleigh to Port Marsden Highway could be underway by 2019, with the further upgrade to four lanes from Oakleigh to Whangārei to follow.”

Clr Bain thanked the Minister and the Transport Agency for being responsive to the unique issues facing Northland.

“Many of the requests that have come from the Regional Transport Committee have been acted upon and we are extremely grateful for the intervention of the Minister and would like to sincerely thank Mr Ernst Zolner, Regional Director, NZTA - who is also a member of the Regional Transport Committee - for his valued input and advocacy on behalf of Northland.  He has been instrumental in putting us on the map.”

"Given the wider context of construction planned to take place around the district, such as the bridges at Matakohe and those planned for Taipa and Kaeo, this is real progress for Northland."

Northland Inc CEO David Wilson says Northland businesses can celebrate today's announcement. He says combined with the Warkworth to Te Hana motorway announcement and improvements to the Brynderwyns, the upgrade between the Port Marsden Highway and Whangārei will lead to much improved connectivity between Northland and Auckland.

"This connectivity has been a key focus of the Te Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan."