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FiguresThe focus in Northland remains on creating a transport system that is safer, has stronger community connections, provides better access to economic and employment opportunities and is resilient to withstand extreme weather events. We are working closely with our partners from local government, iwi, other agencies and communities to support a growing and successful region.

Investment during this NLTP 2018-21 period will target maintaining and improving the transport system, as well as working with local government, and NZ Police to improve safety at high-risk locations. Work is already underway to replace three one lane bridges, at Taipā and Matakohe, with work starting at Loop Road intersection to make journeys safer in the region.

Northland’s appeal as a tourist destination will be boosted by additional investment from the Provincial Growth Fund, to progress the Twin Coast Discovery Route connecting the east and west coasts through a number of business cases that are already in development.

Northland map

Improving safety

Work will continue identifying and improving high-risk safety areas on the network, as well as monitoring use by visitors, communities and freight. There will be investment in a safety programme of improvements to roads, roadsides and intersections in hotspot locations, particularly on the Twin Coast Discovery Route. SH1 Tauroa Street Intersection Improvements will be a new safety project.

The NZ Transport Agency will work with local roading authorities to progress the region’s speed management plan, focusing on high-benefit opportunities.

Increasing access to opportunity

Northland’s transport system provides the means for businesses to operate successfully in the region. Recognising the importance and potential of the port at Marsden Point, there will be renewed work to support safe and efficient freight movements to and from this key economic location.

The growth of forestry in the region means the strategic importance of some routes can change over time. The maintenance and renewals programme has been structured to respond to these changes, supporting industry and economic development. The Transport Agency continues to work with industry, communities and local government to develop and improve the region’s HPMV routes, and to prioritise projects addressing dust caused by increased traffic on unsealed roads.

There will be an investigation into the opportunities for more freight on rail, especially to Whāngārei, the port at Marsden Point, and key distribution hubs.

Economic development

Tourism in Northland thrives in locations such as the Bay of Islands, Te Reringa Wairua (Cape Reinga), Opononi/Omapere, Waipoua Forest and Matakohe. Strategic investment in the transport system is a key enabler to broaden Northland’s destination appeal and increase visitor numbers. The Provincial Growth Fund has committed an initial $6.2 million to fund seven business cases along the Twin Coast Discovery Route, with the aim of attracting more visitors and improving investment, employment and incomes across the region.

As the transport system connects Northland’s communities, the Transport Agency has identified an opportunity through the NLTP to investigate options for local road improvements to support place-making, access, urban intensification and mode shift outcomes. There will be improvements to regional connections and public transport services, as well as driver licensing and education programmes to improve community access to education, employment and training opportunities.

Improving walking and cycling

Walking and cycling opportunities will continue to grow this NLTP especially with the Northland Regional Walking and Cycling strategy, providing a great way to boost tourism and promote healthy communities. The Transport Agency has been working with local government to identify how investment in walking and cycling infrastructure and initiatives can boost the number of people walking and cycling. Positive results are already being seen on the completed sections of the Onerahi Shared Path in Whāngārei, including families at weekends and daily commuters, with safe new opportunities to actively get out and about.

Continued investment in great rides in Northland offers business opportunities. The Transport Agency will continue to support initiatives, such as the Twin Coast Cycle Trail, which offers tourists and locals a unique way to travel between the region’s coasts.

This NLTP will also continue to support urban shared paths in and around Whangarei, including the delivery of sections of the Kamo and Raumanga routes which link with schools, recreation areas and the city centre. These provide the safe transport choices that encourage people to get on their bike and leave their car at home.

An investigation will be carried out into pedestrian safety improvements in Whāngārei, and a programme of cycle skills education will be delivered in schools to capitalise on the new infrastructure.

Resilience

Work will continue with local roading authorities and communities to be vigilant about the condition of the transport network and target areas of low resilience. Improvements will strengthen the resilience of the transport network, particularly on the Auckland–Whāngārei corridor, Twin Coast Discovery Route (including Opononi) and Kaitaia to Cape Reinga.

This will include consideration of the potential impacts of climate change and sea level rise on communities and infrastructure in coastal areas. With freight across the region increasing, there will be an investigation into options to strengthen alternate routes, including local roads, to deliver appropriate levels of service in the event of network disruption.

The Transport Agency will continue to support road controlling authorities and the Northland Transportation Alliance in their collaboration on procurement, asset management and implementation of maintenance activities, to ensure best practice and value for money.

Investment highlights

  • $23m committed for the completion of the replacement of one-lane bridges at Taipā and Matakohe, to make journeys safer and improve economic outcomes for these communities. 
  • $10.8m committed for the SH1 Loop Road Safety Improvements project at the connection between SH1 and SH15, to improve traffic flow and safety. 
  • $8.7m will be allocated to the advancement of Whāngārei’s urban cycling routes, continuing to create a connected network of shared paths for walking and cycling between residential areas, education, recreation and shops.
  • There will be substantial investment in regionally prioritised, lower value activities to improve local roads and access to communities, such as traffic measures, street lighting and cycling facilities.
  • There will be $6.2m investment in the Northland Regional Council Public Transport Programme, operating bus and mobility assistance services, giving people better travel choices to connect them with services, education, jobs and recreation.
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