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High-risk rural highways set to receive $20 million cash injection for safety upgrades

The Government has announced three more winners in its so-called safety boost programme aimed at improving our high-risk roads.

$20 million will be spent on lower-cost, simple upgrades to be done over the summer as hundreds of kilometres of risky rural highways are set to benefit from the installation of rumble strips, roadside safety barriers, shoulder widening and new signs.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said, "It's improvements that are proven to substantially reduce fatal run-off-road crashes, or other types of fatal accidents - they can be rolled out really quickly".

Gisborne mayor Meng Foon noted that the roads in Gisborne "are in terrible conditions".

"There has been a lot of work, but there is still a lot of work to be done," Mr Foon said.

The latest round of $20 million in funding will go on improvements on state highways in five sections of road in Manawatu-Whanganui; four stretches of highway in Gisborne-Hawke’s Bay; and two on the West Coast.

AA Motoring general manager Mike Noon said of the roads slated for improvements, "They don't have a lot of cars on them, but if you look at the number of kilometres that are driven and then you look at the number of crashes, they are very dangerous roads".

While the Government is focusing on safety improvements to existing roads, the National Party says the cash injection should go towards building new state highways and making major improvements to existing ones.

The party has also put up billboards around the country to remind motorists that was their plan in Government.

National's transport spokesperson Paul Goldsmith said, "Instead of getting highly engineered four-lane highways, we're getting a few rumble strips and it's a poor substitute".

However, Ms Genter added, "These sorts of improvements are proven to reduce deaths and injuries. and we can cover 10 to 20 times more the amount of state highway".

The improvements will be carried out over the next six months.

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    Rumble strips, roadside safety barriers, shoulder widening and new signs part of improvements. Source: 1 NEWS