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Proposal to improve safety on challenging section of SH73

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The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) wants to hear what the public thinks of its proposal to improve safety between Mingha Bluff and Rough Creek on State Highway 73 (SH73) between Christchurch and Greymouth and within Arthur's Pass National Park.

A range of issues have been identified with this 5km section of highway. These include the road width, visibility, drainage and the highway’s crash history.

NZTA Canterbury-West Highways Manager Colin Knaggs says in 2009, the NZTA completed investigations, which have led to an option being identified to improve highway safety in this area, while minimising the projects environmental impacts on Arthur’s Pass National Park.

“The aim of this option is to construct a new road alignment that blends in with the alpine, natural, historic, cultural and scenic character of the national park and does not impact on the nearby Midland Railway Corridor between Christchurch and the West Coast.”

The improved alignment would have a sealed 9m wide carriageway and a 100 km/h speed limit. Excavations would be minimised to avoid large cuts above the highway, especially at Mingha Bluff, and wire rope barriers and guardrails used where necessary to enhance safety.

Mr Knaggs said the NZTA is now keen to find out what the public and stakeholder think of this proposal. To help with this, a Community Open Day is being held at the Arthurs Pass Community Centre on Saturday, 21 May 2011 between 10am and 2pm. This is an opportunity for people to come along and ask questions and meet key people involved with the project.

Feedback from the community and stakeholders will play an important role in the further development of this project, which the NZTA is working closely on with both the Department of Conservation and Kiwirail, he said.

More information about this project can be found on the project website www.nzta.govt.nz/mingha(external link) and feedback can be made by completing an online web feedback form. Feedback is required by Friday 3 June 2011.

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