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Southland backs $250m highway project

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 29/06/2016

Southland councillors have voted unanimously to support the building of $250 million road linking the West Coast with Milford Sound.

At a meeting this week, Southland District Council backed the 136km Haast-Hollyford highway project, joining West Coast councils that have already voted it through.

Road promoter Haast Hollyford Highway Limited chair Durham Havill described the vote as "wonderful news".

"It means that the West Coast and Southland can now move united to make this road a reality," he said.

Promoters will now need to make a case for government funding.

A route linking the West Coast with Milford Sound has been mooted since the 1870s and the proposal will reduce the travel time from Haast by about five hours by offering an alternative to the current 355km route.

The council said it understood the toll to use the road would be $40 per person.

Those behind the project have previously said they had overseas backers lined up to invest in the highway.

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