Government funds Route 52 upgrade

The Government will invest $14.6 million in long-awaited upgrades to Route 52 between Central Hawke’s Bay and Tararua District, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has announced.

Route 52, a former State Highway, runs the entire length of the Tararua District between Central Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa providing an important link between the regions, for locals, travellers, tourists and transport vehicles.

“This project will improve safety for all traffic. It will also build investment confidence in increased land production and tourism, and underpin sustainable business and job growth in the rural communities the road runs alongside,” Shane Jones said.

As well as its designation as a Heartland Ride as part of the New Zealand Cycle Trail network, Route 52 is increasingly important as a tourist and freight route.

“The long, winding and narrow road is quickly deteriorating as a result of increasing traffic. The formation and geology of the road also make it susceptible to damage such as slips and dropouts during bad weather.

“While improving the resilience of the road, the upgrades are also expected to improve the attractiveness and smoothness for tourist traffic and cyclists,” Shane Jones said.

Funding for the project is coming from the $3 billion set aside for infrastructure in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

It is estimated that this infrastructure project will create 45 jobs.

“Given the small rating base in the region, it was important the Government stepped in to help the Tararua District Council get these critical upgrades underway.

This piece of roading is crucial for this region and this project will provide an economic boost at a time when it is needed, as well as putting people in jobs,” Shane Jones said.

Notes to editors:

Projects are being funded as part of the infrastructure investments announced by Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Shane Jones on July 1 to kick-start the post COVID-19 rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand.

The $50 billion COVID Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF) set out in Budget 2020 earmarked $3 billion for infrastructure projects. Ministers established the Infrastructure Reference Group (IRG) to work with local councils and businesses to identify a pipeline of projects to support the economy during the COVID-19 rebuild. Cabinet then decided the key sectors and regional breakdown of funds with more than 150 projects worth $2.6 billion being approved in principle.

All approvals are in principle and subject to contract negotiations. Investment values are also subject to change.

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