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New roundabout reshapes collision hotspot

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If you’re driving to or through the Far North your journey will now be much safer thanks to the completion of a roundabout replacing a notoriously dangerous intersection at Puketona Junction.

MP for Te Tai Tokerau Hon Kelvin Davis and MP for Northland, Willow-Jean Prime, joined Waka Kotahi and local iwi to unveil symbolic artworks in the centre of the roundabout.

“This project has been delivered on time and under budget and will immediately make a difference to Northlanders by saving the lives of people who live and travel in the region and also reduce road closures due to crashes, helping to build a more reliable transport network,” says Andy Thackwray Waka Kotahi National Manager Infrastructure Delivery.

“Improving the resilience across our state highways will also provide a boost to tourism with a greatly improved user experience for those travelling the Twin Coast Discovery Route and on to the Bay of Islands.”

The junction at Puketona sits along the main route to the Bay of Islands and Far North coastal communities and has long been considered hazardous, with the intersection claiming the lives of two women in 2016 after a collision involving a vehicle that had turned into the wrong lane.

The new roundabout allows people to safely navigate the area whether they’re turning towards Kawakawa, Paihia or Kerikeri. It will also improve the journey for traffic to and from the historical treaty grounds at Waitangi.

“Waka Kotahi made the decision to build a temporary road to be able to build the roundabout away from traffic. This allowed our crews to work more efficiently and keep road users moving,” says Andy Thackwray.

Today, to mark the completion of the works, MP for Te Tai Tokerau Hon Kelvin Davis and MP for Northland, Willow-Jean Prime, joined Waka Kotahi and local iwi to unveil symbolic artworks in the centre of the roundabout.

The painted tuna (eel), designed by Ngāti Rāhiri/Ngāti Kawa, signify the importance of migratory tuna as a traditional food source in the area.

“Historically, hapū travelled seasonally from inland to the coast to gather seafood, following the Waiaruhe and Waitangi Rivers near the intersection. The artworks symbolise seasonal journeys for all travellers in the Far North,” says Wiremu Tane, Ngāti Rāhiri/Ngāti Kawa Kaumātua.

The project was delivered by Waka Kotahi with funding from the regional package of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme.

New roundabout

Aerial view of the new roundabout

Still photographs of the construction(external link) 

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