The first sod has today been turned on a package of crucial safety improvements for State Highway 2 in Wairarapa.
Associate Minister of Transport, Kieran McAnulty was joined by the Mayors of Carterton and Masterton, local Iwi and members of the Wairarapa community to mark the start of the roads project.
“The work to improve safety on this critical route through Wairarapa will protect our community by significantly reducing the risk of people killed and seriously injured on our roads,” Minister McAnulty said.
The section of SH2 between Masterton and Featherston connects the Wairarapa to Wellington and the central and eastern North Island.
Between January 2010 and December 2019 there were 488 crashes on the section of highway, with four people killed and 28 people seriously injured.
“Wairarapa is a growing region and so the pressure and reliance on our roads has increased significantly. I, alongside the community, have raised concerns about the risks involved in this route for some time ago as maintenance of the roads had not kept up with the rate of growth,” the Minister said.
“As the local MP for Wairarapa I’m incredibly pleased to see this work begin and to have played a role in ensuring the concerns of Wairarapa community are addressed,” he said.
Construction firm Higgins Contractors will deliver the safety improvement project. The project includes three new roundabouts at high-risk intersections along the corridor:
- SH2 and Ngaumutawa Road (improving safe access onto the heavy traffic bypass)
- SH2 and Norfolk/Cornwall Roads
- SH2 and Wiltons/East Taratahi Roads.
The project will also deliver central median wire-rope barriers, a safe turnaround area near the Clareville Saddlery/Hughes Line, and improved line marking and road surfacing along an 8.6km-long stretch of SH2.
“As part of these improvements we’re making sure to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe with new pedestrian facilities to make it safer for school children and others to cross the road, and sections of off-road cycling paths,” the Minister said.
“There has been talks of improving this stretch of State Highway 2 since long before I was at Masterton District Council in 2016 and so to be able to mark the beginning of construction as Associate Minister of Transport is a massive honour.
“Everyone travelling on our roads needs to be able to get to their destination and back again without risk, and today is another step towards ensuring Kiwis are safe on our roads.”
Construction of the safety upgrades is expected to take two years.