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A $25 million package of three road access improvements to Napier port has today been announced by the Government as one of the first actions of Matariki - the Hawke’s Bay Economic Development Strategy.

Improving access to the port has been identified through the development of the strategy and its accompanying regional action plan as a key contributor to Hawke’s Bay’s economic growth.

"This connection is one of the three or four key pieces of infrastructure for Hawke’s Bays future prosperity," says Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce. "I am pleased we are able to announce this funding as one of the first key initiatives of the Matariki Economic Development Action Plan."

The road improvement package includes improvements to intersections at Watchman Road and Hyderabad Road/Prebensen Drive as well as the SH50/SH2 Expressway.

It is part of the third tranche of the Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Programme announced in 2014 to speed up the delivery of transport projects important to regional New Zealand.

"In 2015 Napier Port handled the equivalent of more than 250,000 containers, up more than 16 per cent compared with 2014. Improving the road access will enable more efficient and safe movement of freight to and from the port and support future growth," says Transport Minister Simon Bridges.

"The Napier Port Access Package is part of the $245 million being invested in land transport in the Hawke’s Bay region over the next three years. This includes more investment in public transport and cycling, which are key parts of the Government’s commitment to providing more transport choices," says Mr Bridges.

Improvements at the Watchman Road intersection will start this summer and will take up to 12 months to complete.

Design work for the proposed improvements to SH50 and at the Prebensen Drive/Hyderabad Road intersection is expected to begin before the end of this year with construction beginning in the first half of 2018.

"Having strong transport links between the port, the airport, Napier, Hastings, Northern Hawke’s Bay and Central Hawke’s Bay, is one of the key themes in the regional action plan, says Mr Joyce. "The regional ministers look forward to working with the region to deliver the package announced today plus further investments in the years ahead."