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Dashwood Overbridge about to get a lot safer for everyone

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Marlborough’s biggest roading project since 2007 is about to get underway. The NZ Transport Agency’s Marlborough Roads office has announced that work to build a new rail overbridge and a straighter, safer road at Dashwood Pass will start up this month and should be complete by winter 2015.

Highway Manager Frank Porter says that this 2 km section of State Highway 1  halfway between Blenheim and Seddon has a number of safety issues the Transport Agency looking forward to seeing addressed.

“Dashwood Overbridge has been the site of a number of crashes, and the layout of the road on either side of the bridge means that drivers have to slow down considerably to travel safely through the area.

“The tight curves and difficult approach to the Overbridge can cause problems for all vehicles, particularly trucks. The current overbridge was built in 1932, and while it’s still in good nick, we need a bridge that’s up to current earthquake standards.  It’s also too narrow for such a major road, so a new bridge will make it safer for everyone travelling along this bit of the state highway.” 

The $6.4 million construction contract has been awarded to Higgins Contractors Nelson.  It’s the biggest roading project in Marlborough since the Awatere Bridge replacement in 2007, and includes building a new seismically resilient bridge, improving the approach to the bridge, and removing several tight curves on either side.  Higgins will be using local contractors to do earthworks and pavement construction.

Mr Porter says that the Dashwood Overbridge is one of the last rail overbridges left to be addressed in the region, and that work to improve safety on the roads is one of Marlborough Roads’ highest priorities. 

“Since 2003, we’ve been working to replace these narrow rail overbridges and make the roads leading up to them safer.  The first was Welds Pass, which was done as part of the $2 million Utawai safety improvements project.  In 2005, we invested $2.5 million to sort out the Elevation Overbridge north of Picton.  It will be great to see the next of these projects finished, which we expect will be around the middle of 2015.

“When it comes to bringing down our road toll, everyone has a part to play.  We all make mistakes sometimes, but mistakes on the road can have serious or even deadly consequences. Marlborough Roads recognise that safer roads and roadsides, along with safer speeds, safer vehicles, and safer use of the transport network all make a real difference to preventing fatal and serious accidents on our roads.”

Mr Porter also said that work would be carried out with as little disruption as possible.  

“While we always do our best keep traffic disruption to a minimum, we also know that roadworks are often noisy, dusty and just generally a bit of a pain.  On behalf of the NZ Transport Agency’s Marlborough Roads office, I’d like to thank motorists in advance while we carry out this important work to make our roads safer.”

For more information please contact:

Anthony Frith
Media Manager – Central
NZ Transport Agency

T:  04 894 5251
M: 027 213 7617
E: anthony.frith@nzta.govt.nz

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