ADVOCATE COLUMN 4th WEEK AUGUST 2017
The upper North Island accounts for a large portion of New Zealand’s overall economic activity and productivity. So, in many ways one of Northland’s competitive advantages is our proximity to New Zealand’s largest market and New Zealand’s main air and sea freight gateway. Because of this, anything which inhibits access of Northland businesses to this market has an impact on our economy and productivity. Obviously a key component on accessing this market is still land transport and in particular roading.
While recognising a transport network is not a discrete unit confined within arbitrary lines on a map, it is interesting to look at some proposed individual parts of these improvements to stretches of State Highway 1 north of Auckland and in particular the section that will have an immediate impact of those people living within or visiting the Whangarei District. This is the portion of work described as from Te Hana to Whangarei on the NZTA website and on which they are now seeking feedback from the public.
If you are unfamiliar with what is proposed, at present NZTA are seeking feedback on various options for this stretch of highway including options for by-passing the Brynderwyn Hills, final alignment of Whanagarei to the Marsden Point round-about and alignment of the highway in relation to Kaiwaka. All options presented have their advantages but will impact on individual parts of our communities in different ways.
However, the benefits to the region – not just Whangarei – when the work is complete will be immense. This is not just about getting from point A to B faster. It is about providing certainty to how long a trip is likely to take, ensuring that those travelling on our roads are as safe as possible and about providing a resilient roading network that will allow alternative routes in times of emergency. The actual work itself will be a great boost for our region’s civil contracting sector providing future work and career opportunities.
If we want to foster future growth in Northland communities and the businesses that underpin this growth through providing goods, services and employment opportunity, then this roading network is the platform upon which that growth can be built.
For this reason, I would encourage everyone who uses our roads to take the time to visit the website, look at the various options and provide feedback that will allow NZTA to arrive at a solution that best meets those needs.