Investing in Road Resilience
The New Zealand government is committing more than $22 million to enhance the resilience of roads on the West Coast that have been vulnerable to recent extreme weather events, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.
This substantial investment aims to safeguard the state highway network in the region from the disruptive impact of severe weather.
Transport Resilience Fund at Work
The establishment of a dedicated Transport Resilience Fund paves the way for early preventative measures to protect the state highway network from future severe weather disruptions. This fund will be instrumental in fortifying critical road infrastructure across the West Coast.
Roads Receiving Funding
The roads in the West Coast region that are set to benefit from the Transport Resilience Fund include:
- SH6 Gates of Haast river erosion
- SH6 Wanganui River Protection
- SH6 Whataroa River Protection
- SH73 Rock Shelter DSA and Strengthening
- SH73 Otira River Bridge Abutment Protection
- SH6 Buller Gorge Rock Scaling
- SH6 Douglas Culvert No.2 Replacement
- Cascade Corner
- Cobden Hill West
- Depot Creek
- Ormon Falls
- East of McGraths Corner
- McGraths Corner
- Whites Bridge West Approach
- Rocky Point
- SH73 Candys Bend Scouring
- SH6 Meybille Bay Slip
- SH6 Epitaph Slip – Remote Monitoring
Additionally, the Haast to Hawea section of SH6 has been identified as a high priority for improving the overall resilience of the state highway corridor, with planning work scheduled for the 2024-27 NLTP period.
Building Resilience Against the Elements
State Highway 6, in particular, has been susceptible to closures resulting from slips, rockfalls, and flooding, while the West Coast remains prone to adverse weather events.
“Many roads in the region have experienced repeated extreme weather events in recent years. We need to repair our state highways after these events and also build greater resilience so they’re less affected in the future,” stated Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.
Supporting Tourism and Local Communities
Improving road resilience not only ensures safer transportation but also bolsters the tourism industry on the West Coast, a vital sector for the region and its residents.
“Safer and more resilient roads will also help support tourism on the West Coast – a key industry for the region and for many locals,” emphasized Prime Minister Hipkins.
Commitment to Resilience
In this year’s budget, the government established the $419 million Transport Resilience Fund to support investments that enhance regional recovery.
Prime Minister Hipkins highlighted,
“Investing in resilience creates savings down the road, as well as ensuring communities aren’t cut off and isolated after extreme weather.”
Expanding Resilience Initiatives
Further emphasizing the commitment to regional resilience, Prime Minister Hipkins noted,
“In this year’s budget, we set aside $6 billion in funding to support the implementation of a National Resilience Plan. I can confirm that projects in the top of the south will be considered for funding as part of this ongoing work.”
Unity in Resilience
“No region can foot the bill for building transport resilience on their own. That’s why the Government is coming to the table to support regions with a range of funds to help them recover,”
stated Prime Minister Hipkins.
“We are absolutely committed to the region’s recovery.”
Partnering for a Stronger West Coast
Associate Transport Minister Damien O’Connor underscored the importance of this investment, stating,
“We are committed to supporting the region to rebuild and build back stronger from the challenges of recent times. We know severe weather events will be an ongoing challenge, and West Coast highways need to be resilient.”
“This funding will repair vulnerable points in the road network to help mitigate the risk of them failing in future storms or other natural hazards.”
A Collective Effort
In a time where resilience against extreme weather is paramount, the government’s investment in road resilience demonstrates a collective commitment to ensuring safer, more reliable transportation and strengthening the West Coast’s ability to withstand future challenges.