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New roundabouts to improve safety and traffic flow in Northland

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Work is about to start on two roundabout projects in Northland that will contribute to a safer and more resilient transport network and support regional economic development.

The roundabouts at Kawakawa and Puketona are among 13 regional state highway projects funded through the government’s NZ Upgrade Programme and led by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to boost infrastructure, productivity and save lives. 

The roundabouts are on Northland’s Twin Coast Discovery Route and will benefit visitors to the north while improving safety, resilience and congestion. They will also improve accessibility, freight movements and travel time reliability.

Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones turned the first sod at ceremonies at both sites today, signalling the start of construction. The roundabouts are due to be completed by the middle of 2021.

The sod turnings are significant milestones in Waka Kotahi’s developing relationship with iwi and hapū partners in the Far North.

“Through the growing relationship with Waka Kotahi, Ngāti Hine as the local iwi is looking forward to working in partnership on this vital intersection at Kawakawa that is the gateway to the Bay of Islands and the Far North,” says Pita Tipene of Ngāti Hine.

“The local hapū of Ngāti Rāhiri/Ngāti Kawa are pleased to support the Puketona project which has been long overdue in providing safe passage for locals and visitors to a notorious key State Highway intersection, particularly with increased levels of traffic anticipated in the future,” says a local kaumatua.

Waka Kotahi Senior Manager Project Delivery Andrew Thackwray says a $6 million roundabout at Kawakawa will replace the “T” intersection where SH1 meets SH11, improving safety and traffic flow in the town.

 “Construction of a roundabout and new pedestrian connections will deliver improved access and connectivity for locals, visitors and regional freight.”

Work will start on building a retaining wall at the intersection this month, with construction of the roundabout starting in September.  Completion is expected in June 2021.

The second roundabout will be twenty kilometres north of Kawakawa, where SH10 meets SH11. 

“Puketona Junction is located on the Twin Coast Discovery Route and has a poor safety record due to the high volume of traffic turning to and from the Bay of Islands at this intersection.”

“Reducing the number of crashes at this intersection will save lives. It will also mean fewer road closures and help build resilience across the Northland region, as the intersection is part of the detour route for SH1.”

The $15 million project is expected to indirectly contribute to Northland’s economic development through improved infrastructure attracting more visitors to the region. It’s scheduled to be completed in March 2021.

Construction and procurement for both projects is via the Northland Delivery Framework (NDF), meaning that local contractors will benefit from job creation, with opportunities for graduate programmes and work experience for Northland youth.

For more on the projects see Kawakawa Intersection Improvements(external link) and Puketona Junction intersection improvements(external link)

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