4 Oct 2012

Gisborne road spending to replace rail not enough - farmer

6:30 am on 4 October 2012

A Gisborne farming leader says the extra money the Government is promising for road improvements to compensate for the loss of the Napier to Gisborne railway line, won't be enough.

The Government has confirmed the line will not be repaired after storm damage closed it in March.

Instead, it will spend an additional $4 million upgrading the Napier - Gisborne road, mainly by putting in more passing lanes to help cope with the increase in heavy truck traffic carrying freight that would have gone by rail.

Federated Farmers Gisborne-Wairoa president Hamish Cave said that's not going to make a lot of difference in the long term on a road that's always posed a lot of physical challenges.

He said 50,000 tonnes of freight a year previously moved by rail now has to go by road.

Mr Cave said that was about 1700 trucks each year and if there is an increase in the production of meat, horticulture and wood products out of Gisborne then there will be even more trucks.

He said that would require more than $4 million being spent on the road.