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Rangitata MP Andrew Falloon has today launched a petition aimed at saving plans to extend State Highway 1 between Christchurch and Ashburton to four lanes.

“Transport Minister Phil Twyford has said that a number of important regional highway projects across the country are under review, including the four-lane State Highway 1 link between Christchurch and Ashburton – this is not good enough,” Mr Falloon says.

“Recently in Parliament I asked the Transport Minister to commit to building the road. He refused to do so. I think that’s wrong, and I think most Cantabrians think so too.

“The existing road is becoming a handbrake on Canterbury’s growth and Labour has cast doubt over the continuation of the planned project to extend the highway.

“The demand on the roading infrastructure will only increase with the continued success of Timaru’s PrimePort and the growth of the inland port at Rolleston.

“In the last fifteen years international tourist numbers have more than doubled, the number of passenger vehicles on the road has swelled, and with a strong local economy more and more trucks are on the road.

“We need to be investing in the critical infrastructure that supports growth in our regional economies, not putting all our eggs in one basket with Auckland.

“Not only is it becoming more congested, it’s more dangerous. During the campaign and my time as an MP I have spoken to people who are no longer willing to drive through to Christchurch, nervous about the number of trucks or drivers new to our roads.

“A four lane highway between Christchurch and Ashburton will reduce travel times and make the road safer for everyone. I will continue to push the Government to include the project in their plan and I encourage the public to show their support by signing the petition.”

The petition can be found here.

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