The NZ Transport Agency has announced that it has completed investigations for the State Highway 3 Vickers to City improvements, which will improve traffic flows and safety by providing New Plymouth with the 'missing transport link' between the Bell Block Bypass and the city.
NZTA regional state highways manager David McGonigal says investigation has identified numerous improvements, including the construction of a new bridge over the Waiwhakaiho River, which will add two lanes of capacity into the city.
"We recognise that the Waiwhakaiho Bridge is a real bottleneck, and a new bridge alongside the existing bridge will provide a huge amount of relief for travellers, with two lanes into the city, a dedicated right turn lane for those wanting to enter Devon Street East and two lanes out of the city."
Mr McGonigal says the project looks beyond the bridge to improve capacity, traffic flow and safety across the whole Vickers to City corridor, and also includes the provision of a new bridge over the Te Henui Stream. The project will represent good news for people who like to keep fit, with additional facilities on the cards for New Plymouth's many pedestrians and cyclists.
"New Plymouth leads the pack as one of New Zealand's Model Communities for walking and cycling, and provision will be made for dedicated pathways to ensure everyone has healthy, safe transport choices."
Mr McGonigal says the project will help to future proof New Plymouth for continued growth, particularly in Bell Block industrial area in line with the growth expectations laid out in the New Plymouth Strategic Study 2008.
"New Plymouth is one of New Zealand's most attractive and liveable cities, and we need to make sure we cater for it to keep growing and thriving. The Vickers to City project will overhaul this entire corridor and complete a high standard state highway route between the city and the airport.""
"Getting traffic moving during peak hour will save commuters time, money and fuel. This will foster economic productivity and help to make New Plymouth more competitive for business and freight. It will also ease day to day frustration for people who are tired of being stuck in traffic jams when they need to get somewhere."
Mr McGonigal says the project will also make travelling safer, and make New Plymouth's transport system more resilient by providing a second bridge over the Waiwhakaiho River.
Design will be tendered early next year, and construction may begin in early 2014, pending consents and other approvals. The staging of the work will be determined during next year's design phase.
The Vickers to City project includes the following improvements: