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North Canterbury’s state highway is the loser in the National Land Transport Programme’s shift in priorities announced on Friday, Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey says.

“Token, small-scale local improvements will do nothing to improve congestion or safety,” Doocey said.

“Residents of Woodend want a commitment to the Woodend Bypass. This was announced by the National-led Government last year, under the second generation of Roads of National Significance, as part of the Belfast to Pegasus motorway extension. Now, our residents are being told by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) that the bypass will not be constructed within the current 10-year plan,” Doocey said.

“Current traffic volumes passing through Woodend, including heavy freight, have reached tipping point. Trying to remediate the challenges with some quick fixes is not going to make Woodend residents feel safe about accessing State Highway 1 from side roads, or trying to cross over by foot to access the school and shops,” Doocey said.

Doocey, who successfully petitioned for the third-laning of the Waimakariri Bridge and the inclusion of a cycle lane, delivered a petition to Parliament in July to save the planned Belfast to Pegasus motorway extension, including the Woodend Bypass.

“Public consultation on the proposals are a sham when residents have already voiced what they want. I urge our local councils and community groups to make their views known to Government,” Doocey said.

Doocey said Government was letting residents down by refusing to listen. “It’s always been my priority to have the voice of the Waimakariri heard and this is what they are telling me they want. I won’t stop fighting for roading solutions for the Waimakariri to build on the gains of projects like the Western Belfast Bypass.”

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