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Local MP Barbara Kuriger welcomes the completion of the safety improvements to State Highway 37 in Waitomo.

“It was fantastic to be in Waitomo this morning with Transport Minister Simon Bridges to mark the completion of the first in a series of nationwide safety projects aimed at reducing the risk of crashes on our rural roads,” said Barbara Kuriger.

“I thank the Minister for his continued commitment to rural roads across New Zealand, and acknowledge the Ministry of Transport’s follow through on delivering safer roads for our communities.

“I drive sections of these rural roads every week in my electorate, and I know how dangerous they can be. Most weeks we see news reports of another vehicle incident on roads throughout the area. I am confident that investment into upgrading the safety of these State Highways will significantly reduce deaths and serious injury,” said Kuriger.

Changes to the high risk section of State Highway 37 in Waitomo include side barriers to stop drivers running off the road and improved signage and road markings to alert drivers to upcoming corners. Sections of the highway have also been widened so that drivers who do lose control on corners have more time to recover, and a new footpath linking key tourist spots has been built to improve safety for pedestrians.

The $1.5 million project is the first of the Government’s $600 million Safer Roads and Roadsides Programme to be delivered. The Safer Roads and Roadsides Programme will see safety improvements made to approximately 90 high-risk sites on rural State Highways in 14 regions across New Zealand.

In addition to today’s completed event, there are a number of other safety upgrades still to come in the Taranaki – King Country electorate, as part of the Government’s commitment to improving the safety on our rural roads.

“In the Taranaki-King Country electorate there are six upgrades as part of the Government’s $600 million investment into road safety. These include $3.1 million for an upgrade to SH3 from Ohaupo to Te Awamutu due to start in late 2016, a $2 million upgrade for SH3 between Te Awamutu and Otorohanga with work due to start mid 2017, and a $3.3 million upgrade to SH3 from SH37 to Te Kuiti with work due to start in late 2016.

“In addition to the improvements to State Highway 3, there will be a $4.5 million upgrade to SH23 from Waitetuna to Raglan with work starting early 2017, and an $8.8 million upgrade to SH23 between Hamilton and Whatawhata with work aiming to start mid 2018. Recent incidents have highlighted the need for these roads to have safety improvements, and it is superb to see the Government’s commitment to this.”

Investing this $23.2 million into the safety of the State Highways in this electorate demonstrates the Government’s commitment to reducing death and serious injuries crashes on New Zealand roads.

“I look forward to the next safety improvements in Taranaki – King Country starting, and subsequently look forward to marking their completions in due course,” said Kuriger.

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