Rangitata MP Andrew Falloon has welcomed National Party Leader Todd Muller’s commitment that the next National Government will build a four-lane expressway from Ashburton to Christchurch, including a second bridge over the Ashburton River.
“In recent years the road between Ashburton and Christchurch has been one of the most dangerous stretches of highway in New Zealand for fatalities and serious injuries.
“Since becoming a candidate in early 2017 and being elected to Parliament in September that year, I’ve pushed hard for a safer road than the one we have now.
“Traffic volumes have grown, and every week I have people contacting my office in Ashburton who feel unsafe about travelling through to Christchurch.”
Between 2017 and 2019 there were 10 fatalities and 30 serious injuries on the existing highway between Ashburton and Christchurch. By comparison, the high-quality, four-lane Roads of National Significance built by the last National Government are some of the safest roads in the country.
“Labour’s response has been to shelve the Christchurch to Ashburton expressway and direct funding away from state highways across the country, funnelling that money into Auckland cycle facilities and a light rail project that’s gone nowhere,” Mr Falloon says.
“Money has been put toward a business case for a second bridge over the Ashburton River – the fourth such study in recent history. There’s no indication the Government is interested in progressing the expressway so I’m thrilled that National has committed to building it.
“This is a much-needed piece of infrastructure that will reduce congestion at peak times.
“With its strong primary sector base, Mid Canterbury is well placed to help lead a post-Covid economic recovery. What’s important is that the handbrake to future growth is removed.
“Only National and Todd Muller has a plan to do that.”