Sealing the last remaining 19 kilometres of SH1 - to Cape Reinga in Northland - is now in its closing stages with work beginning on the final five kilometres to Waitiki Landing where the sealed section of the national highway currently ends.
Sealing the last remaining 19 kilometres of SH1 – to Cape Reinga in Northland – is now in its closing stages with work beginning on the final five kilometres to Waitiki Landing where the sealed section of the national highway currently ends.
Weather permitting, sealing and associated widening of the road is due to be completed in May, said the NZ Transport Agency’s Regional Director for Northland, Wayne McDonald. Work on the $19.5m project began in September, 2007.
When the project is finished, SH1 will, for the first time, be 2022 kilometres of sealed highway from Cape Reinga to Bluff.
“The clouds of dust that plagued drivers heading for the Cape will soon be a thing of the past,” Mr McDonald said. “Not only will driving be more enjoyable, but safer too with clearer visibility for motorists to see cyclists and pedestrians”.
The 19 kilometre section was originally a farm track and was never designed as a state highway. Its narrow width and sharp curves were unsuitable for the increasing volumes of traffic going to Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach.
Mr McDonald said sealing the road was a priority under the NZTA’s current National Land Transport Programme for Northland, and was also part of the Government’s strategy to improve transport infrastructure to boost the region’s economic development.
“Visitor numbers to the Cape are growing 5% every year,” Mr McDonald said, “and sealing that final 19 kilometres will help cope with that growth.”
As part of the road improvements, the NZTA is working in partnership with Maori and the Department of Conservation to protect and enhance the environment. A plant nursery run by local iwi is growing more than 300,000 native seedlings from plants unique to the Cape Reinga region that are being used to restore beauty to a region of spiritual significance to Maori, and also to help prevent erosion. DOC is improving facilities at the Cape to cater for the growing number of visitors.