The economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis provides a perfect opportunity to make essential upgrades to SH1 at the Ohakea air base, says the AA.
The AA Manawatu and Whanganui districts have jointly called for the work to be included on the list of infrastructure projects pushed forward by the Government to help stimulate the economy in the wake of the pandemic.
With more Royal New Zealand Air Force vehicles about to start operating out of Ohakea the amount of traffic coming on-and-off the highway at the base is increasing. Up til now, the plans for dealing with this have been to close the passing lane and reduce the speed limit.
“This is New Zealand’s main highway – literally our number one road for moving people and freight – so there is no way we should be downgrading that,” says AA Manawatu chair Garry Goodman.
“The AA has been arguing against the plans to downgrade the highway at Ohakea for years and now the Government has the opportunity to invest in the work needed to lift our main highway up to the standards it should be.
“It is absolutely possible to design a plan that can safely handle increased traffic in and out of the base without restricting the use of the highway. The current situation gives us the opportunity to alter the plans and do the job properly, rather than taking cheap short-cuts.
“We don’t need to create a new, unsafe choke point on SH1 and that is what the current plans are heading for.”
Along with upgrading SH1 at Ohakea the other transport project that the AA is urging the Government to take action on in Manawatu are:
- fast-tracking planning for the Palmerston North Ring Route
- repairing SH54 around Vinegar Hill from flood damage
“The recovery from the current crisis gives us the chance to take a big step forward in the safety and quality of roads right around the country,” says Garry.
“The Government cannot afford to miss the opportunity to finally deliver some of these long-needed transport projects in the Manawatu region.
“Regional New Zealand has not had the transport investment it deserves and now is the chance to put that right.”
Other AA districts around the country have identified similarly needed local transport projects while at a national level the AA has called on the Government to super-charge investment in key areas of road safety and maintenance.
For more information contact:
AA Manawatu District Chairperson
New Zealand Automobile Association
M. 022 357 1280
E. : [email protected]