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The next National-led government will ensure that construction begins within three years on the Nelson Inland Route and the conversion of Rocks Road into a boulevard for walking and cycling, says National’s Transport spokesperson Chris Bishop and MP for Nelson Dr Nick Smith.

“These two projects are the centrepiece of our ‘Top of the South’ transport package that we have released today, which also features three new passing lanes on the route between Nelson and Blenheim, the completion of the Great Taste Trail, a major upgrade of High St Motueka and the replacement of a number of important bridges”, says Mr Bishop.

“National is committing $210 million for the Nelson Inland Route and Rocks Road Cycleway, with funding coming from our record $31 billion transport infrastructure plan announced in July. We are serious about delivering better infrastructure for New Zealanders including Nelson residents who have faced worsening congestion and increased fuel taxes without any significant investment under the current Government”, says Mr Bishop.

“National will get on and build the Nelson Inland route between Annesbrook and the Port to ensure the region is efficiently linked to the city. This is also the only practical way Nelson’s beautiful waterfront can be enhanced and a Rocks Road boulevard redeveloped for walking and cycling. The Inland Route and Rocks Road Boulevard would be advanced as an integrated project”, says Dr Smith.

Nelson voters have a distinct transport choice between Labour’s preferred proposal of clearways along Rocks Road, Waimea Road and through Tahunanui, or National’s commitment to the Inland Route and a waterfront boulevard. Labour’s approach would wreck our waterfront and have huge impacts on the Waimea Road and Tahunanui communities. Clearways have proved to be ineffective and unsafe as evidenced on Wellington’s northern coast where the inland route of Transmission Gully is now having to be constructed. NZTA has also estimated that the Inland Route is the least expensive and also the best solution for managing the risks of climate change”, says Dr Smith.

“National on coming to government will immediately proceed with detailed design on the Inland Route in consultation with the affected communities like Victory. We want a design that includes cycleways and which protects and enhances the Victory neighbourhood.

“National’s plan also includes the completion of the Great Taste Trail as an important piece of recreational and tourism infrastructure. This trail has been a massive success story and we will ensure it is completed in the next term of government by providing the funding for the remaining Nelson section from Nelson Airport through the golf course to Tahunanui beach, and the remaining Tasman section down the Motueka Valley to Woodstock.

“National’s plan for transport in Nelson also includes three new passing lanes between Nelson and Blenheim. We do not support the Government’s proposed blanket speed reductions to 80 km/h and would constrain speed limit reductions to the urban areas around Atawhai and around schools.

“Other projects in National’s “Top of the South” transport package include:

·         Delivering the upgrade of High St, Motueka and the replacement of the Motueka Bridge

  • Replacing the Stoney Creek, Moonlight Creek, Rough River and William Stewart Bridges.

  • Maintaining the road from Westport to Karamea (former SH67) and the Haast-Jackson Bay Roads as special purpose roads.

  • Urgently investigating safety improvements for the Whitby Rd section of State Highway 6 through Wakefield, including looking at an underpass.

“This region has been neglected by Labour with major transport projects deferred or cancelled. A vote for National is the best way to get Nelson moving. National will deliver where Labour has failed.”

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