Motorists can now enjoy safer journeys south of Inglewood, following the formal completion of construction today of the Rugby Road Underpass project on State Highway 3 at Tariki.
New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young was joined today by New Plymouth Mayor Peter Tennent, Stratford Mayor Neil Volkze, and NZTA Regional Director Jenny Chetwynd to celebrate the completion of the project with a blessing and tree planting ceremony.
The $10.5m project, which began in May 2008, comprises a series of safety improvements over the 3.7km long stretch of highway south of Inglewood between Norfolk Road and Surrey Road.
“The Rugby Road Underpass project will make a big difference to safety on what is a crucial transport lifeline for the Taranaki region,” says Ms Chetwynd. “We’ve had a number of fatal crashes on this stretch of highway and this project will make it a much easier route to negotiate.”
The main feature of the project is the replacement of the existing rail-underpass with a new structure that is wider, higher, and sits on a straighter alignment. The approaches have also been realigned, intersections with side roads upgraded and a bypass retained for oversized vehicles.
Among the other improvements are widening the road along the length of the project, replacing three narrow bridges with wider bridges, and putting in passing lanes for both northbound and southbound traffic. When the project is completed it will also enable open road speed limits to be restored.
“While the underpass is the crux of the project, that’s just part of what has been quite a large undertaking. We’re making a whole series of improvements that will all add up to a much safer journey for motorists. It’s a full safety makeover for nearly four kilometres of highway, and it’s great to see it finished and motorists enjoying the full benefits,” says Ms Chetwynd
Ms Chetwynd says the project has been well supported by road users and the community.
“We’ve had great support from the community, and we’d like to thank all the locals and road users who put up with some inconvenience to enable the construction of this important project that will ultimately help to reduce crashes.”
Ms Chetwynd thanked consultants MWH and contractors Inframax Construction Ltd (New Plymouth), for their excellent work in completing the project on schedule.