Government must seize the day on Woodend Bypass

24 April 2020

Government must seize the day on Woodend Bypass

After decades without progress, now is the time for the Woodend Bypass to finally happen, says the AA.

The Canterbury/West Coast AA District Council has called for the much-needed bypass in response to the Government’s search for infrastructure projects to help stimulate the economy in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“The current road is simply not up to the task and dangerous,” says AA Canterbury/West Coast chairperson Roy Hughes.

“The Woodend Bypass is urgently needed to improve safety, to reduce congestion and to remove large volumes of through traffic from the local town centre.

“There has been 20 years of talking and thinking about this bypass but now is the time to finally stop mucking around and actually build it.”

Traffic volumes have grown nearly 20% since the Christchurch earthquakes because of substantial suburban development in the area and traffic has been forecast to double again in the decades ahead.

“The bypass is needed now. If we don’t take action and the future growth predictions are correct the road is going to become even more inadequate and there will be many more unnecessary serious injuries and deaths,” says Roy.

Previous consultations have shown the local community wants the benefits the bypass will deliver and the crash history on the current road gives a grim confirmation of why it is needed now.

This is the most dangerous road in Canterbury and the short stretch of 3.5km of highway has had 9 fatal and 33 serious injury crashes between 2000-2018. That is a disgrace, says Roy.

Along with the Woodend Bypass, the Canterbury/West Coast AA district also put forward two other priority transport projects it is urging the Government to push go on:

  • A second bridge over the Ashburton River
  • Median barriers on SH1 between Ashburton and Rolleston

Other AA districts around the country have identified similarly needed local transport projects while at a national level the AA has urged the Government to super-charge investment in key areas of road safety and maintenance.

“The recovery from the current crisis gives us the chance to take a big step forward in the safety and quality of our region’s roads,” says Roy.

“The Government cannot afford to miss the opportunity to finally deliver some of these long-needed transport projects in Canterbury.

"The Bypass would be an investment in our local communities’ wellbeing and the national transport network, both now and well into the future.”

Along with putting forward the three projects to the Government’s Infrastructure Industry Reference Group, the AA Canterbury/West Coast district wrote in support of the project directly to Transport Minister Phil Twyford following Waimakariri Mayor Dan Gordon recently meeting with him about the project.

“Hopefully that the Government will listen to the regions and deliver these life-saving projects,” says Roy.

“Regional areas have been suffering from a lack of transport investment for years but now is the time to turn that around.”

For more information contact:

Roy Hughes
AA Canterbury/West Coast District Council chairperson
P. 03 332 7500
E. : [email protected]

The New Zealand Automobile Association is an incorporated society with more than 1.7 million Members. It represents the interests of road users who collectively pay more than $2 billion in taxes each year through fuels excise, road user charges and GST.

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