Saturday, April 13, 2024

Work begins to upgrade crash-prone stretch of highway

Construction has begun on major works to upgrade a crash-prone stretch of State Highway 3 between Waitara and Bell Block, Associate Minister of Transport Kiri Allan announced today.

“This is an important route for communities, freight and visitors to Taranaki but too many people have lost their lives or been seriously injured travelling on this stretch of road,” Ms Allan said.

“There were 142 crashes on this route between 2017 and 2021, which resulted in seven deaths and 22 serious injuries. These improvements for Te Ara Tūtohu: State Highway 3 Waitara to Bell Block will help prevent serious injuries and save lives.”

The $82 million project will see new roundabouts built at the intersections of Waitara Road, De Havilland Drive and SH3A (Mountain Road). A flexible median barrier will also be installed, and other safety improvements made to the route.

“This project will make what is a busy route safer and more accessible for local residents, freight, commuters and visitors to Taranaki by helping to prevent death and serious injury crashes,” the Minister said.

“It also supports residential growth north of New Plymouth and supports connections rest of the region by providing safer access on and off the highway.

“Our regions are the backbone of Aotearoa and this investment will make this intersection much safer for the Waitara community and everyone using the road,” she said.

The Princess Street roundabout will be built first as it has the highest crash rate along the route. An underpass will be built as part of the intersection upgrade to provide safer access across the highway for pedestrians and cyclists.

Construction on the first stage is expected to be complete by early to mid-2024.

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