An urgent overhaul is needed of our most dangerous roads, including State Highway 4, also known as the Parapara Highway, and surrounding rural roads that are in disrepair, Whanganui MP Harete Hipango says.
“State Highway 4 is a significant road in the Whanganui district. It’s a lifeline for daily commuters, local residents and businesses. It’s also an alternative route to the Desert Road, making it particularly vital when the latter is closed due to bad weather conditions or major road accidents – which is all too much of a regular occurrence especially during winter.
“$46.5 million has been spent fixing damage to State Highway 4 caused by the 2015 storm and another $950,000 following severe weather events since, but a minimal amount has been allocated to improved signage and barriers.
“These improvements will not go far enough. We are at risk of severe damage and complete loss of access should another major storm hit.
“The NZTA and Transport Minister must provide a resolution to reduce road closures, constant delays, dangerous and fatal situations, and costly repair bills.
“Whanganui residents and general road users should not have to warn each other to take extra care or ask their friends if they are able to make it home safely at night due to closures.
“Our community has put up with closures and delays due to emergency work for far too long. Just weeks ago, Whanganui saw three separate road closures in a single day following overnight rain.
“Numerous traffic lights have been in place along State Highway 4 for months and over the years as the conditions and risks have worsened. It’s not something we should have to ‘get used to’. The NZTA must no longer err and delay and make SH4 a priority.
“Local residents and road users deserve a safe commute and at the very least, better communication from NZTA regarding closures and ongoing repairs.”