The New Zealand Government has announced a massive programme of infrastructure development. The New Zealand Upgrade Programme will see US$4.44 (NZ$6.8 billion) being spent on improving transport in the key cities, as well as boosting safety lives and overall productivity.
The transport policy will see the sum being invested across road, rail, public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure. The spending will be focussed on six main growth areas – Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Canterbury and Queenstown. The sum will help improve public transport as well as helping build new facilities for pedestrians and cyclists. Meanwhile it will also build roads to speed travel times and and invest in rail to.
The country will spend over $653 million (NZ$1 billion) on rail upgrades in Auckland and Wellington in this programme, bringing the total this Government has committed to revitalising rail to around $2.61 billion (NZ$4 billion). The country is developing its rail network to cope with growing freight volumes. This will help reduce wear and tear on the country’s roads and lower carbon emissions by 66%. Building alternative transport options for people and freight is a vital part of achieving the Government’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
The new state highways will be built to reduce deaths and serious injuries. Safety improvements are also planned for existing roads in Waikato, Wellington and Canterbury.
The plan will help develop reliable freight routes. Upgrades in Canterbury, Central North Island freight hubs and the Upper North Island will help boost the movement of goods.
Nearly $1.44 billion (NZ$2.2 billion) will be used to build new roads in Auckland. Work will also move ahead with plans to upgrade SH1 to two lanes in either direction along three key stretches, as well as widening the Tauranga Northern Link.
The planned SkyPath for Auckland's Harbour Bridge will also be built. The project will cost $235 million (NZ$360 million) and work is due to start in 2021. Another link for vulnerable road users will be the SeaPath, a 3km route alongside the Northern Motorway, connecting the SkyPath on the Harbour Bridge to Northcote Point and running to Takapuna. This work will help improve New Zealand’s comparatively poor record on road safety for cyclists.
Work on the 7km Penlink road will commence in 2021 and when complete in 2025, it will connect Auckland's Northern Motorway at Redvale with the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, reducing congestion in Silverdale. The road will be tolled and will include separate facilities for cyclists and pedestrians.