Safer, straighter highway celebrated at Papatawa


A shorter, safer route between Woodville and the Hawke’s Bay is officially finished, with the completion of the State Highway 2 Papatawa Realignment celebrated today.

The 4.5km, $11m safety project just north of Woodville straightens out a once-notorious stretch of highway, smoothing out a number of risky corners while shortening the route.

The project also involves a bridge passing over a new rail tunnel, as well as new, safer passing opportunities.

Transport Agency regional highways manager David McGonigal today joined Tararua Mayor Roly Ellis, Horizons Chair Bruce Gordon, members of the project team and a host of local dignitaries to celebrate the completion of the project.

“State Highway 2 is one of the region’s most important routes, and provides a lifeline for local industry, with 700 truckies using it every day. This is now a safer, straighter route which will improve journey times on the main route to the Hawke’s Bay and the Port at Napier,” says Mr McGonigal.

The project also created a silver lining for the otherwise hugely disruptive Manawatu Gorge closure in 2011/12, with 50,000 cubic metres of the slip material recycled for earthworks (along with 35,000 for the nearby Corby Road Realignment). This helped save both money and thousands of lengthy truck journeys carting the material from quarries.

Mr McGonigal says that while the project had some unavoidable setbacks – most recently from the August earthquake damaging the then partially-finished tunnel -  it was delivered $1m under budget, and throughout the final year of construction most of the new road was already open to ensure motorists benefitted as early as possible from safer, easier journeys.

“The completion of the Papatawa Realignment, together with the recent Corby Road Realignment, means that Tararua now has a safer, more efficient highway network than ever before.”

Mr McGonigal thanked Tararua District Council, Horizons and the Rangitane iwi for their ongoing support and involvement, and to motorists and the local community for patiently putting up with roadworks over the last three years.

“Creating safer roads and roadsides is a key plank of the Government’s Safer Journeys strategy, and together with safer speeds, safer drivers and safer vehicles, this project will help to continue the encouraging downward trend in Manawatu’s road toll.”