Last week our residents watched my live submission to save our Belfast to Pegasus motorway extension and Woodend Bypass. Over 1,600 people watched the live stream from Parliament and feedback shows how many want this roading project, promised by National last year, to get over the line with this Government.
We are one of the fastest-growing areas in the country and we expect that growth to continue with new residential and urban developments. Traffic volumes on State Highway 1 from Belfast to Pegasus triggered the next round of National’s Roads of National Significance (RONs) and we have to ask why this is not being considered today under this Government. With Woodend School students having to use a pedestrian crossing to get over the state highway and residents battling to get on and off to access shops, residents tell me they don’t feel safe.
Many are angry $5.5 billion has been stripped out of regional state highway funding to go towards public transport initiatives in the main centres which they will never see the value of.
Some could ask why this motorway wasn’t undertaken under National. We had the 2010-11 earthquakes and seismic activity prevented us building a couple of years after that. Since then we’ve either turned the sod, completed or planned three main motorways to deal with increased population growth in our area, including the Western Belfast Bypass and the Northern Corridor - a motorway that’s been on the books for decades and took a National government to get over the line. When the next tranche of RONs came up, I worked hard to advocate for the motorway extension and Woodend Bypass on the basis that in 2020 when the Northern Corridor is completed, we will have a private-public partnership sitting there that will have to be disbanded. It doesn’t make sense to not put a date to this project.
Speaking at the opening of the Rangiora RSA’s new rooms ahead of Armistice Day was a poignant reminder of our communities’ need to keep this anniversary alive for future generations and remember the sacrifices that were made to ensure the freedom we take for granted in New Zealand today.