"We've recently finished the strategic planning for the overall project, called Accessing Central New Zealand. From this planning, two clear priorities have emerged as needing immediate focus: State Highway 3 Kairanga to Bunnythorpe connection, State Highway 3 Napier Road, from Keith Street to Whakarongo," says Lisa Rossiter, Acting Director Regional Relationships, NZ Transport Agency.
The goal of Accessing Central New Zealand is to achieve better links between the North East Industrial Zone near Palmerston North Airport, the Kawakawa Rd industrial area near Feilding, the Longburn industrial area and Food HQ at Massey University to the wider highway networks.
Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith says: "We've been working with NZTA to confirm strategic issues, outcomes and benefits for the Accessing Central New Zealand project. The logistics sector and movement of freight through Palmerston North and Manawatū is much larger than many realise. It is now not only the hub for the lower North Island but also the emerging Central New Zealand node in our country's intermodal network. Therefore it is a great result to have funding confirmed for the first two phases."
Horizons Regional Council Chair and Accelerate25 Lead Team member Bruce Gordon says the ring road was identified as an immediate action needed under the Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan. "We're very pleased to see progress on enabling effective and efficient distribution and transport in key areas of our region. We'll continue to work through the planning for the rest of the project, which will have far reaching economic benefits for our communities and beyond," Mr Gordon says.