Whakatāne District Council is set to press ahead with several big transport projects after a securing a massive funding boost from central government.

The council today welcomed the $62.46 million investment in our district’s transport networks which will allow people to move around more easily and safely.

Whakatāne mayor Judy Turner said the investment would allow the council to achieve some important transport outcomes that would ultimately make the district a better place to live.

“It’s incredibly pleasing to secure this level of funding for our transport networks,” she said.

“It’s a testament to the strength of our relationship with central Government, which is crucial for investing in our transport infrastructure.”

“It’s especially pleasing that we will be able to invest in walking, cycling and public transport, which will provide more choice for our communities.”

The Waka Kotahi agency approved funding for the following council investments over the next three years, as proposed in the 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme:

  • $42,791,662 – Road maintenance, operations, and renewals
  • $4,060,243 – Walking and cycling improvements
  • $10,297,233 – Local road improvements
  • $78,000 – Public transport infrastructure
  • $5,241,000 – Road to Zero low cost/low risk projects

Road to Zero is a strategy to reduce death and injury on New Zealand roads.

The council’s Manager Transportation, Martin Taylor, greeted the investment as a big win for the district.

“We aim to provide a safe, reliable and sustainable transport system that is accessible to everyone and which caters to a variety of transport choices,” he said.

“Our district is growing fast, and it’s important that we invest in our transport systems to ensure that our communities are connected and our economy continues to grow.

“This funding will allow us to press ahead with some very important projects which aim to achieve those goals.

“The big challenge for us now is to deliver on this massive programme of work for our team and contractors, especially given the distruptions caused by Covid-19.”

The funding will allow for a re-design of the Landing Rd roundabout later this year, with construction planned for 2022/23.

It will also fund signficant safety works on Thornton Rd, and culvert replacements and drainage works at Matahī Rd, Stanley Rd and Troutbeck Rd.

Active Whakatāne will deliver new shared paths across the district, including new facilities through Rex Morpeth Park, College Rd (Edgecumbe), and pedestrian safety improvements.

The sealing of Kōhī Point Rd is already underway to improve safety for visitors and our communities. The council will run a seal extension programme without Waka Kotahi funding that will focus on high-priority sites throughout the district.

Martin said the council’s strong partnership with Waka Kotahi was crucial to building the district’s networks. In addition to roading, Martin said the agency’s commitment to walking and cycling aligned with the council’s objectives to provide communities with more choices for moving around.

The funding is part of a $24.3 billion investment programme for the nation’s land transport system over three years, led by Waka Kotahi.