Northern Corridor Road of National Significance demonstrates major benefits to Wellington and lower North Island
22 October 2013
Updated project information on Wellingtons Northern Corridor Road of National Significance (RoNS) released today by NZTA indicate that the Wellington Airport to Levin route upgrade will deliver some $3 billion in benefits to the region over 40 years, providing $1.60 back for each dollar invested.
Its encouraging to see revised data on the project confirming positive economic benefits for this important strategic link, said Stephen Selwood CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.
The project summary published today demonstrates exactly why this project is essential for the future growth and development of the Wellington region.
The morning journey to the CBD from Levin will be 40 minutes faster on completion of the route. Aside from the obvious benefits provided to freight and commercial traffic, a reduction of this scale puts more people within working distance of the capital.
The direct impact will be an estimated 865 permanent jobs created in the region but, indirectly, a larger labour pool from which to draw employees means employers have a greater chance of finding the right person for the job. We now know that this leads to productivity improvements which are not easily reflected in analysis.
Interestingly, however, the economic imperative behind the Northern Corridor is as much about resilience and safety benefits as it is about travel time savings and jobs.
The importance of providing a safe route to access New Zealands severely earthquake-prone political centre and third largest city in the event of natural or man-made disaster cannot be over-estimated. Even a moderate shake today could see State Highway 1 out of commission for up to 6 months.
Safety too will receive a big boost. The existing road is among the worst accident black spot corridors in New Zealand with one serious injury or fatal crash per year for every five kilometres of road. The new road will be built to modern safety design standards and is expected to save up to 40 lives over a five year period.
As a long-term strategic investment for the region, the Northern Corridor will be the most significant since the airport was redeveloped in the 1950s. When completed in the 2020s, the high quality road will become a major stimulus to growth and source of resilience for Wellington and the lower North Island, Selwood says.