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Nelson MP Nick Smith has welcomed today’s release of the report on the Programme Business Case for the Southern Link Road for the State Highway between Annesbrook and Nelson city.

“This report concludes that congestion will continue to get worse on Waimea Road and Rocks Road and that the new arterial link of the Southern Link will be required sometime between 2023 and 2043 depending on growth. It proposes interim measures of clearways on Tahunanui Drive between Annesbrook and Tahunanui Beach and on Waimea Road between the Ridgeway and Motueka Street, enhanced public transport and parking restrictions to reduce demand.

“The reason National will get on and start construction of the Southern Link Road by 2020 is that traffic growth is well ahead of this report that is based on 2015 data and because the interim options like clearways and parking restrictions in the city are not practical. Further reasons are that the relocation of the state highway enables Rocks Road to be developed into an iconic boulevard for walking and cycling and it will give the communities of Waimea Road, Tahunanui Drive and Victory far greater certainty.  

“NZTA’s interim measures are not realistic. Clearways along Waimea and Tahunanui roads will be hugely disruptive for hundreds of residents and businesses and quite dangerous for road users. The proposal to put tighter parking restrictions in Nelson city will be a disaster for Nelson retailers and the city economy and just drive shoppers to Richmond where there is free parking.

“This is one of those situations where it is better to get on and implement the recommended long term solution than spend millions on interim measures that will be very contentious to implement, bad for business and which are only a temporary solution. National’s plan if we are re-elected will be to immediately progress to the detailed Business Case and to provide NZTA with up to $135 million to get on and progress the Southern Link Road. Nelson’s community needs certainty and a long term solution and National’s plan will provide that.”        

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