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Two projects to improve Whangarei transport routes underway soon

The New Year is heralding the start of work on two new projects to improve journey reliability, road safety and freight efficiency on two key transport routes through Whangarei.

The NZ Transport Agency will begin improvements in the next couple of weeks to the stretch of SH1 (Western Hills Drive) between Manse Street and Kensington Ave, including the intersection at  SH1/Kensington Avenue.

The improvements to the state highway will coincide with Whangarei District Council’s Mill Road, Nixon Street, Kensington Avenue Intersection Upgrade nearby, which is also scheduled to start in February.

People who use these roads regularly are encouraged to start planning their alternative routes now to avoid any congestion at the road work sites.

'This work is designed to improve safety for road users and reduce traffic queuing at the intersection at peak times as well as for road users and pedestrians accessing Kensington Park,' says the Agency’s Acting Northland Highway Manager, Mieszko Iwaskow.

'We’re looking forward to completing another one of the key improvement projects to give the Whangarei community and those driving through the city safer and easier access.'

The NZ Transport Agency and Whangarei District Council are working together to reduce the impacts on road users while both projects are under construction, however there will be some traffic restrictions and disruption.

“These projects are on two of the District’s busiest roads and they are physically close together. That means we will have an excellent result in about a year’s time, but we are going to go through some pain before then,” says WDC Infrastructure Services Committee Chairman Greg Martin.

Improvements to the SH1/Kensington Avenue intersection include a new roundabout and the installation of central median barriers on the state highway between Kensington Avenue and Manse Street.

The new roundabout will have a dedicated northbound lane to allow vehicles travelling north to continue without stopping. This will reduce traffic queues as well as minimising potential road noise from heavy vehicles stopping on the hill at the approach to the intersection.

A central median will also be installed along the highway between Kensington Ave and Manse Street to address the existing high crash rate when vehicles cross the centre line.

The Transport Agency’s Mieszko Iwaskow says motorists who know they’re likely to be affected by the works should start planning different routes to avoid any journey delays.

'You should also allow more time for your journeys, especially during peak periods and during busy school and sporting activity times around Kensington Park.'

  • There will be restricted traffic movements at both ends of Kensington Avenue, including no right turns into Kensington Avenue from Western Hills Drive (SH1) or Kamo Road.
  • Manse Street traffic will be controlled with temporary traffic signals from February until the roundabout construction at SH1/Kensington Ave is completed.
  • Existing capacity will remain on the state highway throughout construction although speeds will be reduced between Kensington Avenue and Manse Street.
  • People travelling from the Kamo and Tikipunga areas should consider using the Kiripaka and Mill Roads to make use of the recently opened Mill/Nixon intersection.

The Whangarei District Council works involve the continuation of the four laning of Nixon Street from Elizabeth Street to the intersection of Nixon Street, Kamo Road and Kensington Avenue. The project also includes the realignment and upgrade of the intersection to provide safer traffic movements, particularly for road users travelling between Kensington Avenue and Nixon Street. 

Both projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

For more information on the SH1 Kensington to Manse project you can visit the NZ Transport Agency website link)

Details about the Mill Road, Nixon Street, Kensington Avenue Intersection Upgrade are on the Whangarei District Council’s website link)