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New passing opportunities for a safer SH35


Work to construct two longer passing opportunities to enable safe overtaking on State Highway 35 will kick off this Friday.

NZ Transport Agency regional Highways Manager Chuck Dowdell says crews are ready to spring into action creating the longer passing opportunities.

The project will see a new passing lane built at Panikau Hill and a slow vehicle bay at Wallis Hill on SH35 north of Gisborne.

Adding around 1.2km of safe passing opportunities on SH35 - the two passing opportunities are the first construction sites to be delivered as part for the $212 Million commitment of Crown funding for the Accelerated Regional Roads Package.

Mr Dowdell says, “State Highway 35 is a challenging route where safe opportunities to pass are sometimes few and far between. When people are stuck behind a slow moving vehicle, it can lead to driver frustration and risky decisions that have the potential to lead to serious consequences.

“This project is great news for the local community. It will help drivers to better enjoy their journeys and keep their passengers and fellow road users safe as they travel around the region.’’

Works are programmed to be completed by late March, weather permitting. Drivers are asked to take care at the work sites to ensure that the workers and fellow road-users are kept safe.

Mr Dowdell says that with summer around the corner and the school holidays not far away, it was a good time for drivers to ‘‘brush up on the rules’’ when using one of the passing opportunities to overtake.

  • Keep left. If your speed is slowing down the flow of traffic, get as far to the left as you can and let the traffic behind you pass. Using the slow-vehicle lanes to allow faster vehicles to pass you  is the law.
  • Don’t speed up when you reach a passing lane/opportunity. Be alert to the vehicles behind and let them pass when you reach the passing lane.
  • When the passing lane or opportunity ends, merge like a zip. Whichever lane you’re in, show you want to merge by putting on your indicator for at least three seconds and adjust your speed and following distance.

 The work is being carried out by Fulton Hogan and managed by MWH NZ Ltd.

For more information please contact:

Anthony Frith
Media Manager - Central

T: 04 894 5251
M: 027 213 7617