Safety concerns after funding cuts

by Mike Isle

News of funding cuts by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) could impact on road safety say the Selwyn District Council.

The council was told last month by the NZTA that funding for some local roading projects would be cut due to a nation-wide funding shortfall.

The cut means that roading projects such as safety upgrades in Prebbleton, Weedons Ross Road widening in Rolleston, and the Rolleston to Templeton cycleway would not go ahead.

Selwyn District Council deputy mayor Malcolm Lyall expressed disappointment at the announcement and warned that it might have significant safety ramifications.

“While we have had a constructive working relationship with the NZTA in the region, vital projects which we were planning to improve the safety and efficiency of the roading network, particularly our roads feeding into the Christchurch Southern Motorway, have been halted unexpectedly due to a shortfall in national transport funding,” he said. “This puts our residents and other motorists at risk on main roads that are in desperate need of safety upgrades.”

The NZTA attributes the shortfall to some large transport projects costing significantly more than estimated and which need to be completed,
the cost of other current projects, the number of carry-forward projects from previous programmes and an emphasis on ‘green’ transport initiatives.

Lyall said the council would continue to negotiate with the NZTA to find other ways to help pay for the district’s much-needed roading and transport improvements.

“We’re hopeful of creating a solution to this issue. Our local arterial roads between Selwyn and Christchurch are carrying more traffic than most of the state highways in the district, at over 10,000 vehicles a day,” he said.

Road maintenance programmes are not affected by the signalled funding cuts.