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New plans to deliver safety improvements for three Waikato state highway projects

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The NZ Transport Agency has released plans for short-term safety improvements to SH1 Cambridge to Piarere, SH2 Pokeno to Mangatarata and SH29 Piarere to Tauriko, as well as planning for future upgrades.

The Transport Agency has re-evaluated plans for the three Waikato corridors to align with the priorities set out in the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS) 2018-21.

This work is now complete. The revised plans support the Government’s vision for a safer transport network free of death and injury, accessible and affordable transport, value for money and reduced emissions.

The Transport Agency’s General Manager, System Design and Delivery, Brett Gliddon, says the revised plans for all three highway corridors include a range of short to long-term safety improvements on the existing state highways, and protecting the land for the longer term to allow for upgrades in the future.

These plans also include access to better traffic and travel information so people can make more informed travel choices when delays or incidents occur.

“In the short term making additional safety improvements on the existing highways is a priority for all three highway projects,” says Mr Gliddon.

“The improvements to SH1 between Cambridge and Piarere are likely to include central median barriers and side barriers, and the provision of safer access to communities living along these sections, and to local roads.”

“The extension of the Waikato Expressway to Piarere will be confirmed through the completion of the business case, which will include the best solution for the intersection upgrade at SH1 and SH29. The construction timing will depend on growth and funding priorities across the country.

“On SH2, it is important we continue to provide safe access to the Coromandel Peninsula and this is the priority between Pokeno and Mangatarata.

“While additional safety improvements will be made in the short term to the existing highway, in the medium and longer term installation of more central median and side barriers, passing lanes, intersection improvements to create better and safer access to local roads, and speed limits more suitable for the road environment are planned,” says Mr Gliddon.

The Pokeno interchange will be upgraded in the medium term, with additional capacity on Section A east of the SH1 intersection providing for a safer merge between SH2 and SH1.

The Mangatawhiri, Kopuku, Maramarua and Mangatarata sections will remain a two-lane highway (one lane in each direction) with intersection improvements such as roundabouts, and speed limits which accommodate the varied use of vehicles on the highway, such as agricultural vehicles.

The business case for SH29 between Te Poi and Tauriko will focus on safety and resilience improvements, and will likely include intersection enhancements.

“These improvements will continue to provide safe and reliable access between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga,” says Mr Gliddon.

The construction timing and form of the re-evaluated projects will depend on growth and funding priorities across the country.  In considering investment priorities for the 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme, the Transport Agency balances improving safety and access, protecting the environment, and value for money.  Timings and next steps for the re-evaluated projects will be confirmed in early-2019.

“We appreciate people’s patience as we’ve worked through this important re-evaluation process and recognise the frustration that uncertainty can bring. We have been working as quickly as we can to align with new Government priorities and provide the best outcomes and value for money for communities now and in the future,” says Mr Gliddon.

More information about the projects and the re-evaluation process can be found at www.nzta.govt.nz/project-re-evaluations(external link)

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