National has announced it will build an expressway from Christchurch to Ashburton costing around $1.5 billion, if voted into Government come September.
Party leader Todd Muller made the announcement today and said, should National be voted into Government, development work would begin in the party’s first term, with construction likely to start after 2023.
Mr Muller says it will be a significant investment into the local economy with State Highway 1 a “major economic corridor” for freight and commercial activity.
“This will be a transformational project for Canterbury,” said Mr Muller.
“The project will create important economic stimulus and jobs in the short term while also allowing Canterbury to maximise its future economic potential."
Included in the 60km Christchurch to Ashburton Expressway will be a continuous four-lane state highway, a median barrier separating traffic the two lanes travelling in opposite directions and new bridges over the Rakaia, Selwyn and Ashburton rivers.
It would link the northern end of Ashburton to the Christchurch Southern Motorway extension currently under construction at Rolleston, as well as the Western Corridor to the south west of the city.
Mr Muller says Labour’s $5 billion cut to the state highway budget "has seen no progress made on this project for three years, while traffic and safety problems on the existing road have got worse".
National last week said it was also committed to extending the Waikato Expressway if elected in September. The 16-kilometre road project would include a four-lane expressway between Cambridge and Piarere.